22 Oct 09
British WRC driver Matthew Wilson says he expects a furious battle for the lead of the Rally of Great Britain, the final round of the 2009 FIA World Rally Championship, which gets underway on 23 October.
With one point separating his Ford stable-mate Mikko Hirvonen and Citroen's Sebastien Loeb at the top of the championship standings, the Stobart VK M-Sport team driver sees no role for team tactics this time out in Wales.
“It's going to be very exciting," said Wilson. "Obviously Mikko and Seb are fighting for the championship but that is between themselves. Dani [Sordo], Jari-Matti [Latvala], Henning [Solberg], Sebastien Ogier and I will all be aiming for the outright win at the final round of the season ourselves. Then there is Petter [Solberg] who is now in a Citroen and really believes he can claim the win in Wales himself.”
Wilson has had his best season yet behind the wheel of his Ford Focus RS WRC car, claiming 25 points in total which puts him just four points behind team mate Henning Solberg in the standings in seventh place.
The 22 year old added: “This has been one of the most exciting years in the WRC that I can remember. Everyone thought the championship was over after Sebastien won the first five rallies but Mikko has progressed so much and is clearly a genuine challenger to Loeb’s crown with just one round to go.
“Mikko has time on his side and I think he can be as successful in the future as Loeb. The key thing this weekend for Mikko and Sebastien is handling the pressure. For everyone except Mikko and Sebastien there is no pressure and that might help us. Everyone is driving for themselves so add that to the title scrap between the top two and you have the makings of an epic weekend of motorsport.”
It will be the second world title decided in consecutive weekends after Wilson's compatriot Jenson Button’s Formula One victory in Brazil on Sunday, and the Airwaves Pro ambassador was delighted to watch him come home with the title. “It’s superb for British motorsport that Jenson is now Formula One World Champion,” added Wilson. “It would be interesting to see him in a rally car out in the forests - I know he is familiar with the Focus having driven one at the Race of Champions for the last two years.”
With hopes of a top five finish in front of his home crowd, the Cumbrian is understandably looking forward to the last event of the 2009 calendar: “There's a great atmosphere on the stages and the crowds always give us great support. You can see lots of Union Jack flags lining the stages. I am hoping to bring the car back high up in the points; this is my sixth year on the stages in Wales so I am feeling quietly optimistic. It is always good to be back home so I want to put on a show at the end of the year for my fans and finish the season on a high.”
To find out more about Matthew and the Airwaves Pro campaign visit www.airwaves-pro.tv