Matthew Wilson is to return to the World Rally Championship in Sweden this weekend after Nasser Al-Attiyah was forced to stand down from his drive.
Al-Attiyah had been due to make his first appearance of the season in the WRC at the wheel his Qatar World Rally Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC but was taken ill at the weekend and left unable to complete his pre-event test.
As a result, the Qatari racer will miss the event to regain full fitness, with Wilson given the nod to replace him for the weekend.
“I am extremely disappointed not to be travelling to Sweden with the team this week, but it is important that I concentrate on making a full recovery for my next event,” Al-Attiyah, who will now aim to return to the WRC in Mexico next month, said. “I know Matthew well, and know that he will do a good job for the team. I'll be following all the crews' progress from home, and will keep my fingers crossed for a good result.”
Wilson will be partnered in the Fiesta by Al-Attiyah's regular co-driver Giovanni Bernacchini and the Briton said he was looking forward to his unexpected return.
“After so much disappointment last season, it is an absolutely fantastic feeling to know that I will be back behind the wheel of a World Rally Car this week,” he said. “It all came as a bit of a shock really – I found out I would be competing last night [Sunday] and flew to Sweden this morning [Monday]!
“The recce starts tomorrow [Tuesday], and I'm confident that Gio and I will work well together. It's always tricky adapting to a new co-driver, but he is amongst one of the best in the business.
“I need to say a big thank-you to Nasser for this opportunity, and the entire team wish him a speedy recovery. It won't feel quite right without him in the service park this weekend and we are all looking forward to his return for Mexico."