Rallye Monte Carlo joy for father and son This year's Rallye Monte Carlo was a huge triumph for Ford's father and son duo of Malcolm and Matthew Wilson. While Wilson senior guided the BP-Ford World Rally Team to a remarkable victory via the...
Rallye Monte Carlo joy for father and son
This year's Rallye Monte Carlo was a huge triumph for Ford's father and son duo of Malcolm and Matthew Wilson. While Wilson senior guided the BP-Ford World Rally Team to a remarkable victory via the Focus RS World Rally Car of Marcus Gronholm and Timo Rautiainen, 18-year-old son Matthew successfully completed his first event at the start of his maiden FIA World Rally Championship campaign.
Wilson and co-driver Michael Orr finished the tough three-day rally, the opening round in the 16-event series, in 15th place in a 2004-specification Focus RS World Rally Car. The privately run Stobart-VK-M-Sport Ford Rally Team duo was one of seven Focus RS drivers to start the Rallye Monte Carlo - and all seven finished, with six inside the top 20.
BP-Ford drivers Gronholm and Rautiainen and team-mates Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen led the Ford charge in first and seventh respectively. VK-Ford-M-Sport pairings Peter Tsjoen and Eddy Chevaillier and team-mates Wilson and Orr were 14th and 15th.
Three Irish crews also brought their Focus RS cars to the finish. Gareth MacHale and Paul Nagle were 17th, Austin MacHale and Brian Murphy were 19th and Eamonn Boland and Francis Regan were 26th, despite nine minutes of time penalties.
Matthew is following in the footsteps of his father who had an extensive world championship driving career, much of it with Ford, before switching to management. "The world championship is where I've always wanted to be and this is what I'd been hoping for - a finish on the Rallye Monte Carlo," he said. "It's a hugely difficult event but I can come back next year with a lot more experience. It won't be easy in the future, but it will be easier.
"I'm actually quite glad the conditions were like they were. Obviously it would have been easier to come here and do a dry Monte but we wouldn't have learned as much," he added.
Father Malcolm was both delighted by Gronholm's victory and proud of his son's achievement. "Matthew and I had talked a lot about this rally and he did exactly what I told him to," he said. "He's driven a very sensible event. I kept telling him it didn't matter about the result, it just mattered about the finish. He got there and I'm delighted for him. It's been a great event for me. I've won the rally with the BP-Ford team and my 18-year-old boy has finished 15th on his first ever trip to the Monte. Brilliant!"