Stobart Ford's Matthew Wilson has admitted that he would like to have driven better on the Rally of Great Britain last weekend.
Wilson was gunning for a top-five going into the event, the final round in the 2009 World Rally Championship. However, the Englishman struggled on the opening day and he had a heart-stopping moment in the first stage, when his windscreen wipers stopped leaving him at the mercy of the heavy rain and muddy roads. Thankfully the problem was only temporary, but handling problems throughout the day hampered his charge.
On Saturday he set out to rebuild his confidence and put in a solid and reliable run despite the treacherous conditions out on the stages. In the end he finished sixth, bumped up a place late on after Sebastien Ogier retired in the penultimate stage.
Wilson thus concludes 2009 seventh in the drivers' championship with 28 points on the board, only five less than his more experienced team-mate, Henning Solberg.
"Friday was a very frustrating day," Matt reflected, "because we lost a lot of time with the traction problem. The guys did a fantastic job with the car on Friday night, though, and it was great to drive for the rest of the rally.
"It would have been nice to get a top-five finish because that's what I was aiming for before the rally started, but I am happy with sixth. It is just a shame I couldn't have driven better on this, my home event. Conditions were very difficult though, especially with the rain that made it really challenging.
"We still don't know fully about next year but hopefully we will be back and will keep the momentum from this year to improve even more. Potentially we could have had a few better results this year but overall it's been a good year. I've secured seventh in the championship and that's very positive."
Meanwhile, M-Sport/Ford boss, Malcolm Wilson reckons his son is continuing to move in the right direction, a sentiment echoed by Stobart Group CEO, Andrew Tinkler.
"I'm pleased to see Matthew and Scott [Martin – his co-driver] improving on their home rally," Wilson Sr remarked, "and it just demonstrates that his plan and approach is working; this is his best ever championship finish."
"Matthew's progress has really impressed me during the year and the experience he's gaining is definitely paying dividends now," added Tinkler.
"He's improving year on year and getting closer to the guys at the front. It's been a tough rally but he has done a good job."