Ford boss, Malcolm Wilson has told his number one driver, Toni Gardemeister that he needs to show 'good speed' this weekend on the Wales Rally GB and on the final few events this year, if he is to remain with the outfit in 2006.

Speaking in the Rally GB pre-event press conference, when asked if either of his drivers had been set a specific target, Wilson confirmed that it is a 'critical time' for Gardemeister.

"Everybody knows what's happening with the possibilities for driver movements," added Wilson. "The pressure's really on Toni, in a way, to show that he has the speed to stay with us."

Gardemeister, who has scored points on every event this year, bar one, has though had a difficult build-up to the event, following a crash in pre-event testing.

"In real terms we're like we've been on most events this year," continued Wilson, when asked to assess their prospects for Rally GB. "We think we can challenge for a podium position.

"I think Toni's been improving as each event has gone by, although we had a little bit of a setback last week. He had quite a big accident in testing so we had to abandon the test for this event. He seems fit and well, though, and I think that - a podium - is the best we can hope for."

As for his son, Matthew, who is taking in the event in a Stobart Motorsport Ford Focus, Wilson Senior confirmed that he has recovered well following his big crash on the Rally of Wales - the opening round of the British Rally Championship.

"He's got now about 100 degrees of movement in his right knee. He's done three events in the last four weeks. I'm glad to say he's lost none of his speed," stated Malcolm. "He's still making the odd mistake. He was leading a rally comfortably in Scotland last weekend and slid off for one and a half minutes. In fairness he's mentally stronger than he's ever been, and certainly I think his pace has improved.

"What will he do here? I don't know. You know what it's like trying to tell an 18-year old what to do. He wants everything to happen like yesterday. But I'm pleased that he has come back stronger than ever. He's surprised me and I have to give him full credit for the commitment and dedication that he's put in to get himself into the position he's in, back behind the wheel so soon.

"I'm also pleased he's part of the MSA Elite scheme. Apart from me giving him some assistance he can now receive help from lots of other people as well. So I'm pleased for him that he's been nominated for that."

 

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