24 Apr 09
Airwaves Pro Matthew Wilson talked to wrc.com before Rally Argentina about the rally ahead, meeting Sir Chris Hoy, and his bad luck last time out in Portugal.
“It is hot over here in Argentina and historically the Argentine rally has been one of the fastest on the calendar, very similar to Greece. I’ve been out on the recce for the last couple of days and the terrain is very rocky gravel with some big boulders in places, similar to bedrock.
“I’ve just been speaking to the team mechanics and we are going to even have to raise the car a bit to make room for some of the bigger boulders, so they don’t catch the underside. This really is a rally of attrition and I cannot see a clear favourite this time round!
“It’s true the Ford Focus used to be favourite on this rally in the past. But previous results here will count for nothing, especially now we are using the soft compound tyres. With the temperatures at 26/27 degrees Celsius, we are really going to have to manage our tyres well. If it rains though, we will have to re-think our strategy, as will the rest of the field.
“My preparation has been good coming into this rally. Since you last heard from me, I have been back at home in the UK continuing my training. This has given me time to reflect on the disappointment last time out in Portugal. It was a shame that, having had such a strong rally right up until the end, we had a little error towards the end, carried too much speed and had an ‘off’. Portugal was one of my strongest rallies this year right up until the crash, it just goes to show that even the smallest of mistakes in the pace notes can have disastrous consequences.
“As part of my training before I left for Argentina I got to meet cycling legend Sir Chris Hoy, as he came up to our base in Cumbria for a tour and a co-drive with me. It was great to meet such a successful sportsman and when he presented me with my very own bespoke bicycle with a plaque on it I was overwhelmed! He seemed to enjoy the co-drive- although he didn’t say much!
“I am looking forward to returning to my pre-Portugal success and grabbing some more points for the team and myself. There is not a massive entry of WRC cars here in Argentina so I am really hoping for a decent top six finish. It’s a question of driving with my head and being sensible if needs be. I need to get the car to the finish and then see where I have come!
“On a separate note we are now all aware of the problems facing Rally GB in Wales after the withdrawal of a key sponsor. It will by no means put the future of rally GB is in jeopardy but it may be moved to another location. On the positive side this would be interesting, the rally has been in Wales for a long time and it might be good to get a new location with different road surfaces. Certainly Newcastle has been touted as an opportunity which would suit me fine being from Cumbria and only an hour away!
To find out more on Matthew and the Airwaves Pro campaign visit www.airwaves-pro.tv