Britain's Matthew Wilson enjoyed a good clean run to seventh on Rally Ireland last weekend, what was his 50th outing in the World Rally Championship.

The Englishman opted for a steady pace throughout the three-days to try to avoid falling foul of the treacherous conditions.

Having lost sixth late on day two to Sebastien Ogier, when he had windscreen wiper problems, Wilson tried to up the ante on the opening stage of the final leg and he managed to take 14 seconds out of the reigning JWRC champion - to cut the gap from 37.9 seconds to 24.5.

However his charge was halted by a small spin on the truncated SS16 and in the end he had to settle for two points.

Speaking at the finish though, the Stobart Ford man, who turned 22 on the Thursday prior to the event, was pleased with the result, especially as it means he has already opened his account for the year.

"It was good to get into the points before the end of the first day [on Friday]," he reflected. "We grew in confidence as the first leg went on and I felt really able to push in places where the standing water wasn't so bad.

"I started to get a good feel for the Pirelli Sottozero tyre too and even though there was some massive rivers running across the road you could still attack and be confident of the grip.

"[Then on Saturday in the afternoon] we lost the wipers on the middle stage of the last loop. We repaired them using two spanners for the last stage but they stopped again towards the end and it was hard going. I was actually surprised we didn't lose more time, it could have been much worse.

"[In the end, we had] a good clean run with no major problems in what were some of the worst conditions I've seen.

"The stages here in Ireland are great and I really started to enjoy them on the last day when they began to dry up.

"The fans here have also been brilliant all weekend. I'm happy to take points away from the first round of the season, which I've never done before, so it's a good start for me."



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