An enforced twelve week break due to an injury sustained on Rally d’Italia-Sardegna in June, has meant that Guy Wilks has been forced to watch from the sidelines for three events, as his competitors in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge built an advantage in the championship. However, at this weekend’s Barum Czech Rally ZlÃn, Wilks is aiming to fight back.
Wilks fracturing two vertebrae in an accident on the Italian event, and has missed all of the series events since then. Despite this, he still sits fourth in the championship standings after strong runs in Monte Carlo, Brazil, Argentina and Gran Canaria.
For the rally, Wilks and co-driver Phil Pugh, will compete in the face lifted version of the Fabia S2000, and both will be hoping that their performance can strengthen Å koda’s current position at the top of the manufacturers’ standings.
Speaking in the lead-up to the rally, Wilks said “I'm looking forward to driving the Fabia S2000 Facelift for the first time, and it will be all the more special to make my rally comeback on Å koda's home event. We have to make sure we have a great pre-rally test, find the right set-up and make sure we do a good job, because the Barum Rally represents a great opportunity to get back scoring IRC points straight away”.
The other competitors head to the Czech Republic having competed in the previous round, another asphalt round in Madeira, and Wilks appreciates that they will be sharp when the take to the Zlin asphalt.
“There will be some very fast drivers there, especially Jan KopeckÃ½, who won the event by just over a minute last year, and his Å koda Motorsport team-mate Juho HÃ¤nninen, who arrives there leading the series. All the other drivers will be match fit, especially those who have done Madeira and are coming straight off the back of another asphalt rally. But that's no excuse – I'm happy with my fitness and I think we'll be back on the pace”, said Wilks.
The Czech event is Å koda’s home round of the series, and the marque will be looking to impress on home soil, especially with an anticipated support of some quarter of a million Czech fans lining the stages, and attending service areas.
“The Czech fans obviously support the Czech drivers, but they also cheer on anyone who drives a Å koda – and I'm certainly looking forward to being part of that. There is an absolutely fantastic super-special stage, which goes around ZlÃn city centre and attracts 40,000 spectators, making for a mega atmosphere. Hopefully we can get a good result in Barum and we'll be doing our damnedest to finish on the podium”, added Wilks.