Matthew Wilson says he is aiming for improved consistency in the 2009 World Rally Championship – and if he can achieve that, he believes his breakthrough rostrum finish is a realistic target too.
In his third full season in the WRC in 2008 – the third year of father Malcolm's five-year plan for him at the highest level – Wilson Jnr finished inside the points on six occasions, with a best result of a strong fifth place on the inaugural Rally Jordan in April.
There was also a front-running performance in Japan six months later, where he was battling for fourth spot until he arrived first on the scene of the horrific accident involving Ford team-mates François Duval and co-driver Patrick Pivato and, clearly affected by what he saw, thereafter slipped back to seventh.
It was, the 21-year-old acknowledged, on the whole an encouraging campaign – and now he aims to make even more improvements again in 2009, with the podium, he contends, an achievable goal.
“I enjoyed it,” Wilson told Crash.net Radio
, reflecting on last season. “We had a good year and made some good improvements I think. There were some good rallies for us at the start of the year – Jordan was brilliant – and even in the second half of the year, with the times we did in Japan and that sort of thing. It was a good year, and we just need to try and build on it this year and try and keep on improving.
“The aim is to try and take a big step, be fighting regularly in the top five or six and be more consistent as well. We've had certain rallies where we've been really fast for a day and then maybe had a bad day and then been quicker again on the last day.
“It's just now about trying to string it all together and get three good days – that's when the results will come. I'd like to think [I can score a podium]. It's got to be an aim for the year, definitely. I've got to try, and we'll be giving it a good go. I'm looking forward to it; it's going to be good.”
Wilson went on to explain that whilst he would not miss Monaco too much – an event on which he has not finished any higher than tenth in the past three years – he is unsure of what Rally Ireland, its replacement as the season curtain-raiser at the end of this month, will hold for the drivers.
Beyond that, the Stobart VK M-Sport ace suggested that the main focus for all teams involved would be simply to survive, following the loss of both Suzuki and – far more unexpectedly – Subaru at the end of the 2008 campaign.