WILKS AND HONDA LOOK BACK AT AMAZING RALLY FINLAND Both British driver Guy Wilks and JAS Motorsport team principal Alessandro Mariani have described the performance of the new Honda Civic Type R R3 on the Rally Finland last weekend as "beyond...
WILKS AND HONDA LOOK BACK AT AMAZING RALLY FINLAND
Both British driver Guy Wilks and JAS Motorsport team principal Alessandro Mariani have described the performance of the new Honda Civic Type R R3 on the Rally Finland last weekend as "beyond our biggest expectations."
The 2.0-litre Group R Honda, designed to meet technical regulations that limit performance and budget, finished as the top two-wheel drive car in an amazing 18th overall, beating all the Junior World Rally Championship competitors and several four-wheel drive cars. It also defeated its nearest equivalent R3 competitor by an astonishing 14 minutes.
Leaving aside the World Rally Cars, only four turbocharged, four-wheel drive Group N cars finished in front of the Honda, driven by local Scandinavian specialists. This was the very first time for the Honda Civic Type R R3 in Finland, which is renowned as being the fastest and most challenging event of the entire World Rally Championship.
"After our test in Finland, I knew the car would be good but the result we eventually achieved was definitely beyond my expectations," said Guy Wilks. "To win not just our class but the one above it, beating all the Super 1600 cars, is an amazing accomplishment. With our Honda Civic Type R R3 we've taken on some of the best manufacturers and drivers in the world and beaten them on the most challenging event in the World Championship, and that's an incredible feeling."
Wilks took a class lead that he was never to lose right from the opening spectator superspecial on Thursday night in Killeri. "It's only when you get to competition that you know how good a car really is," said the 27 year-old Englishman. "When we won the short superspecial stage by about half a second I knew straight away that we had a really good chance. I would never have become involved with JAS and Honda had I not believed that the team had the capability and the commitment to work at the highest professional levels. Within minutes of arriving at the factory in Italy to look around I was convinced, and this recent result underlines just what an incredible job the team has done. Of course I've got some experience of Finland from the past, but it was the first time there for my co-driver David Moynihan and without a good car you are absolutely nowhere."
Throughout the three days and nearly 400 competitive kilometres the Honda and its Mugen-tuned engine did not miss a beat, exhibiting perfect reliability in a wide variety of conditions. "That was just as impressive as the actual performance of the car," added Wilks. "Some parts of the rally were quite rough this year, but the Honda took it in its stride. Mechanically we had no problems at all, and the only slight setback we encountered was when we hit a rock and bent the steering slightly. The car is actually very easy to drive, so you can focus on setting good stage times and staying out of trouble."
JAS Motorsport Team Principal Alessandro Mariani concluded: "Having thoroughly developed the Civic Type R R3 on both asphalt and gravel for over a year now, we believe we have an extremely competitive car that is capable of taking on the established frontrunners both at national and international level. The incredible performance from Guy and David in Finland where they beat every other two-wheel drive car, along with the several class wins for our customers competing in different championships around the world, demonstrates just how much hard work has gone into making the Civic Type R R3 a winning package. We look forward to more success soon!"