Double British Rally Champion, Wilks, was taking part in his first-ever rallycross event and had only spent a day testing JRM’s 1.6-litre MINI RX.
Lydden Hill, UK – JRM Racing and driver Guy Wilks scored an impressive sixth-place finish at the latest round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship today – in only the team’s second-ever event in the ultra-competitive series. Wilks also emerged as the top British driver on home soil.
The team is entering selected World RX events this season as it develops its MINI RX Supercar and elected to form an exciting all-British team, car and driver line up for this weekend’s latest event at the iconic Lydden Hill circuit in Kent.
Double British Rally Champion, Wilks, was taking part in his first-ever rallycross event and had only spent a day testing JRM’s 1.6-litre MINI RX before he arrived at Lydden to compete against 29 other Supercars – arguably the biggest field of the season. It was also Wilks’ first competitive motorsport outing in almost three years.
But the partnership between JRM Racing and Wilks delivered some promising results during Saturday’s first two heat races as the 34-year-old finished second in the first and won the second.
It’s a big shame that we couldn’t attack in the final but I’m thrilled with what we’ve done this weekend.
Having made some set-up changes overnight, Wilks’ pace during today’s brace of heats improved further and he managed to finish third in both fast-paced races over Lydden’s mile-long gravel and asphalt track in his KNE-backed car.
That gave JRM Racing’s MINI RX and Wilks a coveted place in the semi finals and a great driving display, married with mechanical reliability, enabled Wilks to finish third out of six cars and reach the prestigious final – a feat that was beyond the team’s expectations in only it’s second World RX event.
Cruelly, any hopes of a potential podium finish were dashed on the first lap of the final when the MINI RX landed heavily after the ‘joker lap’ jump and picked up a nearside front puncture. Wilks fought bravely for almost two laps with the flat tyre but the risk of further damage to the car was too great and he was forced to pull to the side of the track.
But just reaching the final capped an extremely positive weekend for the team and Wilks was thrilled with how he adapted to a brand-new car and a new form of world championship-standard motorsport.
He said: “It’s a big shame that we couldn’t attack in the final but I’m thrilled with what we’ve done this weekend. The aim was to get into the semi finals but we’ve exceeded that by some margin and come away as the top British driver.
“With this being my first-ever event, there were so many unanswered questions coming into this weekend but the team adapted fantastically to the challenge that was put in front of it and I raced as hard as I could in every race to try and extract the maximum performance from the MINI – a car that has massive potential.
“I’ve definitely got the bug for World RX and I‘ll be working flat out to tackle some more events this year with JRM Racing. I see this as the next chapter in my career and I think this weekend’s results show that there’s a lot we can get excited about moving forward.”
JRM Racing team principal, James Rumsey, said: “This weekend has exceeded everyone’s expectations. We’re using this season to develop our MINI RX and to learn what’s required to be successful in this championship, so to reach a World RX final in only our second-ever event is a fantastic achievement.
“Guy drove brilliantly all weekend and you’d never have guessed it was his first World RX. His technical feedback was just what we are looking for as we’re developing the MINI and I think the progress we’ve made was there for all to see. We’ve still got a long way to go but we’re definitely heading in the right direction, in arguably one of the world's most competitive championships.”