In the latest feature on 2008 BRC registered competitors, 2007 British Rally Champions Guy Wilks and Phil Pugh have already begun their defence of the title with a win; their histories gives an insight to why and how. Driver: Guy Wilks DOB: ...
In the latest feature on 2008 BRC registered competitors, 2007 British Rally Champions Guy Wilks and Phil Pugh have already begun their defence of the title with a win; their histories gives an insight to why and how.
Driver: Guy Wilks DOB: 22/01/1981 Lives: Darlington, County Durham Car: Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX Website: www.guywilks.com
Co-driver: Phil Pugh DOB: 27/08/1970 Lives: Tywyn, Gwynedd
There is no doubt that the 2007 Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Champion Guy Wilks can attribute some of his competitiveness to having three sports-minded brothers, Josh Tim and Joe, his father also rallying in the 1980s.
His passion for motor sport began on two wheels, successfully contesting motor cycle trials, but he was nineteen before he drove a rally car. Just four weeks after an introduction at Chris Birkbeck'sRally School, he contested his first rally and finished 14th in slippery conditions.
In 1999 Guy signed up for the British Ford Ka Championship and by the end of the year was crowned Junior Ford Ka, National Class A5 and Formula 1400 Champion, which secured him a place as a Roger Clark Award finalist.
The following season Guy took the next step on the Ford Racing Ladder of Opportunity and moved up to the Ford 1400 Puma Rally Championship, just missing out on the title by 0.7 seconds on the final rally of the season.
Ford was impressed by his speed and in 2002, Guy was asked to join its British Junior Rally Team to contest the Super 1600 British Rally Championship in a Puma. After a season of highs and lows, he finished the championship in a determined third place. This was also his debut year in the World Rally Championship, unfortunately retiring from Rally Sweden in a Mitsubishi.
In 2003, Ford offered Guy the use of a Ford Rallye Sport Puma Super 1600 for the seven-round Junior World Rally Championship. He did not disappoint, ending his debut season in seventh place with two podium finishes in Turkey and Finland.
Suzuki had been closely monitoring Guy's progress, signing him up for the 2004 JWRC and the Japanese manufacturer's UK debut on four wheels in the British Rally Championship. He scored two JWRC wins in Greece and Britain driving the Suzuki Ignis S1600 and went into the final round, Catalunya, leading the title race. After an excellent start he was caught out by standing water on slick tyres, eventually taking third in the championship.
In the British Rally Championship he used the Ignis to good effect, being crowned British Super 1600 and Junior Champion after a string of fine drives in the domestic series.
2005 saw a return to the JWRC where he was runner up, scoring class A6 victories in Cyprus with the Ignis and in front of thousands of fanatical Suzuki fans in Japan with the new Swift.
In 2006, Guy's determination to land the JWRC crown saw him enter a private Suzuki Ignis S1600 on selected rounds of the British Rally Championship to keep match-fit. He scored a dominant JWRC win in Argentina and in Finland became the first Brit to ever win an FIA category on the ultra fast gravel event. Once again Guy was denied the JWRC crown on the final round of the series; this time on Wales Rally GB, where he led the Super 1600 category, his Suzuki Swift suffering transmission failure on the second leg.
2007 saw assaults on both BRC and WRC, the latter in a privately run Ford Focus world rally car in which he took ninth place on Rally Greece. He repeated the feat on Rally Finland despite a massive jump damaging both Guy's back and the car's hydraulics. His asphalt debut on Rally Germany started badly, placed last after the opening test where the brakes locked solid mid-stage. The eventual result was impressive though, finishing 10th overall after a string of excellent times.
Guy rounded off his maiden WRC season in fine style on Rally Ireland - scoring his first WRC points on arguably the trickiest event of the year with a sixth place finish in a Subaru Impreza WRC.
Back home, Guy was invited to drive for Mitsubishi Motors UK in the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship, clinching the title with victories on the Pirelli, Isle of Man and Yorkshire Rallies. He finished with a flourish, taking maximum points on the double points-scoring Rally GB and winning the PWRC category with 13th place overall.
Guy's vastly experienced co-driver Phil Pugh blames his sister for his introduction to co-driving back in November 1987. She was already competing and persuaded him to sit alongside Rhys Williams on Rally Bro Ddyfi, bizarrely in Phil's own car.
He is a member of North Wales Car Club where he cut his teeth marshalling on several road rallies, taking the reins as Clerk of the Course on Rally Bro Ddyfi for six years.
In over twenty years he has navigated nearly twenty drivers to class and overall wins on everything from road rallies to World Rally Championship events, notably Kenny McKinstry, Geoff Jones, Australian Marty Beckton and Manxman Rob Watson. He began with Guy Wilks in 2003 on the JWRC in a Puma, never looking back once alongside the Darlington driver.
His success in the JWRC and BRC culminated in a textbook victory in the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship in 2007, taking wins on five of the seven rounds.
2008 has already seen the pair take victory on the Pirelli International Rally and it would be as foolish gambler who bet against this Mitsubishi Motors UK partnership to deliver again.