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GP Week : Issue 6
50 years of the British Rally Championship AS THE 2008 season gets under way 27-year-old Guy Wilks, the reigning British rally champion, has two irons in his fire. He continues in the BRC at the wheel of the four-wheel drive turbocharged Group N Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, which brought him to the title in 2007, and he also reverts to his previous two-wheel drive life. This time it won’t be back to the Suzuki Super 1600 team that he left at the end 2006 – It is to be the JAS team’s Honda Type R state-of-the-art Group R3 car, which he will drive on two rallies in Australia, and then the IRC round in Russia this year. “We have got a title to defend in the British championship,” Wilks told GPWeek. “We have a tiger on our head on that. I think the competition will be harder this year than last year, when competition against the likes of Mark Higgins and Gwyndaf Evans on British events could hardly have been tougher. “This year we have got people of champion level coming over from Scandinavia so it should be even better. It is giving British drivers the chance to track themselves against foreign drivers, which is what the British championship should be all about. “The foreign drivers are really going to make things tougher for us. And we have also got more Super 2000s coming along. “I do not think the Super 2000s should trouble the Group N cars too much on the gravel events. On the tarmac rallies, however, that is different. We should have the measure of the S2000s on the Jim Clark on the majority of stages, but I think the S2000s will be difficult to beat on the Manx and the Ulster.” This year the Evo X is going to be homologated, but Wilks does not expect a chance to rally one of these in 2008. “I think Mitsubishi UK will study the car and its feasibility for 2009. Not enough testing and development has been done on the model yet, and it is a brand new product as well. “But we have a very good car in the Evo IX, and I believe in the ‘if it ain’t broke’ principle.’ “Essentially our Evo IX will be in exactly the same spec as last year’s car but maybe there will A Wilks and a Way The current BRC Champ Guy Wilks talks about life and rallying to MARTIN HOLMES 38