IRC: Honda JAS Motorsport Rally Russia preview

WILKS READY TO GO FOR IT ON RALLY RUSSIA Englishman Guy Wilks is all set to take the start of this weekend's Rally Russia at the wheel of the Honda Civic Type R R3 developed and run by JAS Motorsport in Italy: Honda's long-time motorsport ...

WILKS READY TO GO FOR IT ON RALLY RUSSIA

Englishman Guy Wilks is all set to take the start of this weekend's Rally Russia at the wheel of the Honda Civic Type R R3 developed and run by JAS Motorsport in Italy: Honda's long-time motorsport partner.

Although Wilks has driven the Honda once before in competition, at the Canberra Rally in Australia earlier this year, the Rally Russia is a step into the unknown for him. The gravel stages are based around the town of Vyborg, which is not far from the Finnish border. Consequently the roads are fast and flowing, making them similar to the stages of the world-famous Rally Finland but with fewer big jumps.

The 27 year-old put in a giant-killing performance on his first gravel run with the Honda in Australia, climbing as high as fourth overall! Having now established a good feeling with the Civic, he is aiming to spring a similar surprise in Russia.

"The Civic Type R R3 is an excellent car, and I think we've managed to improve it still further since the Canberra Rally," said the former Junior World Rally Championship driver. "The engine is particularly good, and from what I have heard it should suit the Russian stages. I don't know much about the roads near Vyborg, but if they are a bit like Finland then that is good news as we have always gone well there."

Rally Russia is the fourth round of the hotly-contested Intercontinental Rally Challenge, which will see Wilks up against some strong competition in the R3 class, as well as a number of more powerful Group N and Super 2000 machines.

The event was run for the first time last year, when it was one of the very first international rallies for the Honda Civic Type R. Spaniard Dani Sola climbed to sixth overall at one point with the new Civic: a performance that Wilks is hoping to emulate. Other impressive showings for the Honda Civic Type R R3 on the IRC have included a top five finish on last year's all-asphalt Rallye du Valais in Switzerland, underlining the competitiveness of the Honda on every surface.

"It will be a lot tougher this year, as the rally is longer and there is a much more competitive field," said Wilks, who will be co-driven by David Moynihan for the first time. "But I'm not actually worried about anything. We'll just head into the rally with an open mind and see what happens."

Rally Russia gets underway on Thursday 10 July with the first of three legs. The weather is expected to be dry and warm, with the finish scheduled for 16:40 on Saturday 12 July after 12 special stages totalling 229.36 kilometres.

-credit: jas

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Series Other rally
Drivers Guy Wilks