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IRC: Guy Wilks, Skoda UK – Q&A

18 January 2010

Crash.net:
You're now confirmed with Skoda for the 2010 IRC season. How much are you looking forwards to it?

Guy Wilks:
It's the best Christmas present I've had in a while! To be involved with Skoda UK and the Fabia S2000 is pretty much a dream come true as at last we have a car which is competitive. At the end of last year with myself, and before that with Jan [Kopecky], it has won in the IRC and we will be doing the best we can with it.

Crash.net:
It was a tough year for you in 2009 with no concrete plan in place so how nice is it to know you have a full programme confirmed for 2010?

Guy Wilks:
It's very nice and reassuring as a lot of people – as I have in the past – are looking around to see what they can pull together at this time of year. I was so lucky that Skoda UK came to me and wanted me to drive in Scotland last year and we did a good job. From my point of view as a driver, that isn't how you want to win an event, but for Skoda, they can say they won Rally Scotland at the first attempt. That helped pull this deal together which is fantastic.

Crash.net:
Did the performance in Scotland match what you expected given the lack of time in the car?

Guy Wilks:
I wanted to fight for victory, but it was very difficult. It was the first time in the car and we wanted to see what we could do. We had been frustrated earlier in the year in a different car and we were chomping at the bit to see what the Skoda could do. We got the chance and I think that we matched Kris – who was the quickest driver in the IRC last year. We set some good stage times and that bodes well for the season ahead if we can go one better on the stages than we did in Scotland.

Crash.net:
What do you make of the Super 2000 cars?

Guy Wilks:
I think it is a great formula. It is very close to S1600 in the JWRC, which I know very well having done a few years in those cars. Who knows which was the sport will go in the future, but the Fabia is a fantastic car, which has had a lot of time and money invested in it. It has had a lot of testing and development and it shows in the performance.

Crash.net:
Young drivers have always aimed to make it to the WRC, but suddenly the IRC appears to be the place to be with the manufacturer involvement.

Guy Wilks:
It's quite confusing at the moment. Last year a lot of journalists were asking drivers where they wanted to be and were then surprised when they were told the IRC. I think its because, last year, the formula was attractive to young drivers as they can see the current WRC cars are being phased out. It's a great, competitive formula with manufacturers and importers getting involved and there seems to be a lot of drivers in Europe who can get good sponsorship packages because of the coverage on Eurosport. Everything about the championship is very good and that's not because I dislike the WRC – I just have a passion for the IRC as it is where I am competing.

Crash.net:
From an organisers point of view they've also been clever to pick up some of the big events that aren't on the WRC calendar due to the rotation policy…

Guy Wilks:
I think the rotation policy in the WRC has paid dividends for the IRC more than the WRC itself as there are some fantastic events on the calendar this year. Monte Carlo was there in 2009 and it is an epic event. It is probably the most famous event in rallying and if you asked the man on the street if they knew it, more people would probably say yes than to any other event. There are a number of other events like Argentina and Belgium, but there are other places where the WRC hasn't been like Madeira and the Czech Republic which are fantastic events. It's great that these events are on the calendar.

Crash.net:
Kris goes into the season as the man to beat with the #1 on his door. Can we expect a battle of the Brits for the title?

Guy Wilks:
It's what everyone says isn't it? Kris did a great job last year, he was the quickest driver and the man to beat. That brings pressure for him but there is pressure for everyone. Rallying is unlike any sport as you can't affect how others do, it is you against the clock. I'm looking forward to the challenge.


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