Mitsubishi wins appeal and confirms entry in Wales Rally GB The Mitsubishi Motors UK works Rally Team is delighted to announce that its appeal against Guy Wilks' exclusion from September's Rally Yorkshire was upheld at a Motor Sports Council ...
Mitsubishi wins appeal and confirms entry in Wales Rally GB
The Mitsubishi Motors UK works Rally Team is delighted to announce that its appeal against Guy Wilks' exclusion from September's Rally Yorkshire was upheld at a Motor Sports Council National Court hearing on Wednesday 26th November.
The decision sees Wilks and his co-driver David Moynihan reinstated as winners of the event, which represented round six of the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship. Consequently, the team's points score is also reinstated, which means it now has the opportunity of challenging to retain its British Driver's and Team's titles at this year's Wales Rally GB.
"Naturally we are delighted with the outcome of the hearing", said General Manager of Ralliart Paul Brigden. "We build our cars in accordance to the rules and the decision by the MSC confirms this."
The circumstance which brought-about Wilks' initial exclusion was a protest alleging that the upper part of his car's steering column did not comply to Group N regulations. However, the MSC National Court agreed that although it was not the homologated item, it complied with Appendix J of the FIA International Sporting Code, article 254, section 6.7.3, which states that the controls may be adapted to facilitate their use and accessibility.
Because of the timing of the hearing, the team had no choice but to enter its two cars in the Rally GB a few weeks ago - before the closing date. However, if the decision had not gone in Mitsubishi's favour, the team had made no secret that it would have withdrawn both its cars put the money it would cost to contest the event towards its 2009 campaign.
Although the result of the appeal has come just one week before the Rally GB, both works Lancers are ready to go and the team has planned a pre-event test for Wilks and his team mate Gwyndaf Evans during the next few days.
After crossing the line one-and-a-half minutes ahead of his rivals in Yorkshire, Wilks was over the moon to hear that his deserving victory had been reinstated and was delighted that he now has the opportunity challenge for the championship title for the second year in succession:
"It is great news to know that I've got my Yorkshire win back and therefore still be in with a shot at the championship," said Wilks. "I am now really looking forward to Rally GB and I am more determined than ever to bring back the title, not just for me but for the team, as it has been a difficult few weeks for them as well. Bring it on!"
For Gwyndaf Evans, confirmation of the team's entry for the Rally GB is also good news, with this year seeing the 20th time the former British Champion and highly-experienced Welshman has taken part in the UK's round of the World Rally Championship:
"It would have been such a disappointment for the whole team not to have had the chance to compete in the Rally GB", said Evans. "For me, it is great to have the opportunity to compete in this event for the 20th time -- especially as it's on my home ground. It will be a tough event, but rest assured I'll be trying my hardest to provide the best result possible for the team. They deserve it."
Now with the Mitsubishi team preparing for the Wales Rally GB, Paul Brigden has the aim of regaining the British titles firmly in his sights and said:
"Victory in both the British Team's and Driver's Championships is an important accolade for Mitsubishi and our focus will be well and truly on achieving this goal next weekend. The whole team is ready and looking forward to the challenge. It's going to be an exciting finale for us all."
After a six-month lay-off due to a recurring back problem Phil Pugh, Wilks regular co-driver, makes a welcome return to the team. Evans will be accompanied for the first time by Gareth Roberts, who has been competing alongside the Welshman's son Elfyn this season.
The Wales Rally GB kicks off with a ceremonial start in Cardiff on Thursday evening. The action starts on Friday morning with eight stages in the forests of south and mid-Wales before the overnight halt in Swansea. A further seven stages take place on Saturday, the last being the spectacular showcase spectator stage inside Cardiff's Millennium Stadium. Four more stages are run on Sunday, with the finish ceremony held in Cardiff that afternoon.
For British Rally Championship crews, the event hosts two rounds and subsequently two points scoring opportunities, one on Friday and another which combines Saturday and Sunday.
The team's two Lancer Evolution IXs are built by Chesterfield-based ADR Motorsport, who also provide the on-event technical support. The team is sponsored by Lovell Group and Virgin Money, together with its technical partners: HKS, Sparco, Speedline Corse, PIAA and Ricardo.