by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
GP Week : Issue 63
ster WRC FEATURE >> It was hard for Matthew Wilson to avoid rallying. It was in the family. However, it required a come-back from a huge crash to find success. MARTIN HOLMES explains MATTHEW Wilson came into the world in a public way -- his parents Malcolm and Elaine Wilson were a very well known in rallying and a respected married couple. By the '80s Malcolm had become well established not only as a works level rally driver in his own right but also for building up his own rally business, M-Sport. Matthew admits "the first thing I can ever remember about rallying was being in a service area on the Lindisfarne Rally (an event based in the north English forests) which was a very exciting occasion because my father was driving the new Escort Cosworth car as a Zero Car. From that moment onwards memories come non-stop: "Going to the various British championship events when Dad was driving the Michelin Pilot car in 1994, and I remember going abroad to places like Greece when he was driving the works Ford cars, during the early '90s. All of which meant I never had a chance to remember Dad driving in the GM works team and, being born in 1987, I certainly never had a chance to remember the Group B cars! Matthew was born just eight weeks after the final Group B rally... Matthew became active in motorsport himself through junior circuit racing: "I never really wanted to go karting, which is what a lot of young people do, but there was a championship for people from 14-17 who wanted to go proper touring car racing. We went to places like Silverstone, Brands Hatch, Snetterton, all proper circuits. It was a good experience, something you could do before you got a road licence at the age of 17. "We did two years of that. My mechanic was a special friend at the time, Scott Martin who went on to become my co-driver. "The following year I did Formula Renault, which is another good learning experience. Driving down to the first corner when you were in the middle of a grid of 32 cars is an unbelievable feeling, but as soon as I became 17 rallying was all I ever wanted to do." Scott has been a major part of Matthew's life and they are close friends who enjoy life together: "He used to live just two villages away and we have known each other for as long as I can remember. His family were big friends with our family, "Scott and I went through the experience of the accident on the Rally of Wales (GB championship) in 2005. I think the after-effect of the accident, in which we both got quite badly hurt, got a bit on top of Scott and it was upsetting for me as well. I did not want him to give up rallying but certainly I know he went through a period of questioning whether rallying was the right thing to be doing in life. "He was a member of the RAC MSA Elite scheme and their people helped him a bit. He spent quite a lot of time up in Edinburgh with sports psychologists and I think they were the people who brought Scott round from his state of limbo. He had a couple of good years co-driving for Mark Higgins and last year we decided it was the right time to get back competing together again. Meanwhile I got back into rallying as soon as I was fit and started competing with Michael Orr as my co-driver. Michael was with me when I did my first world championship rally outside Britain, the Monte Carlo Rally in 2006. We had two very good years together and still my best result on a world championship rally was when he and I finished fourth on the Rally Japan in 2007. I couldn't fault Michael at all -- he did a fantastic job. For me to work with him in 2006 was brilliant -- he had done most of the events before so he was full of giving me help and telling me things I never realised. Every rally abroad was, for me, a new rally and he had been to most of them before. He was able to warn me about hidden problems, how to adjust my pacenotes to suit the event. "But for me there was more connection with Scott; we had known each other for so long, and it had always been our dream to achieve the highest result together." After their accident it was a difficult time for Matthew as well as Scott, but Matthew never had any doubt as to whether he wanted to carry on rallying again. "You could not get 39