Matthew Wilson
Date of birth: 29th January 1987
Lives: Cumbria, Great Britain
Marital status: Single
First rally: 2003 Malcolm Wilson Rally, as co-driver to his father, Malcolm Ė which they won.
First rally as a driver: 2004 Malcolm Wilson Rally
First world rally: 2004 Wales Rally GB

Matthew Wilson has only been a rally driver for three years; his first event was in 2003 when he acted as co–driver for his father, Malcolm Wilson. A year later he was behind the wheel himself.

In 2004 Wilson was the only driver to achieve a 100% reliability record contesting the MSA British Rally Championship, finishing third overall and scoring points in every round. His best result was third overall on Trackrod Rally Yorkshire. That year he made his debut on Wales Rally GB, finishing 13th overall.

Rallying is somewhat in Wilson’s blood. His father, Malcolm, oversees the M–Sport organisation which runs the BP Ford works effort in the World Rally Championship as well as the Stobart VK M–Sport Ford Rally Team.

Malcolm Wilson competed in 45 WRC events between 1977 and 1995. He also has a rally named after him, the Malcolm Wilson Rally, which is in its 30th year in 2006. Malcolm made his debut on the RAC Rally in 1977, finishing twelfth overall at the age of 21.

Matthew’s career was given a boost in 2005 when he was selected to be a part of the MSA British Rally Elite scheme, a national training initiative supported by the MSA, UK Motorsport’s governing body. A total of six of the top young drivers and co–drivers in the UK were chosen to participate. They receive training in areas including Sport Psychology, Sport Physiology, Media Skills and specific driver and co–driver training.

This year was a somewhat difficult season for Wilson with his MSA British Rally Championship programme curtailed after an accident on the opening round, the Rally of Wales in April. Despite this, he had already won the Malcolm Wilson Rally in March and once back to full health he took victory on the McRae Stages Rally and was winner on Trackrod Rally Yorkshire, becoming Britain’s youngest–ever winner of a British Rally Championship round – at 18 years, 8 months and 5 days.

He also took victory on the inaugural Rally Ireland in mid–October. Wales Rally GB that year saw Wilson take 15th overall.

In 2006 however, his career moved forward massively as he contested a full programme of sixteen FIA World Rally Championship events as lead driver in the Stobart VK M–Sport Ford Manufacturer 2 Team. Co–driven by Ulsterman Michael Orr, the pair put in a stirring performance and were classified as finishers on every single round of the championship. Wilson entered the history books on Rally Argentina, becoming the youngest ever driver to take a WRC stage win and score a driver’s point in the championship.

2007 saw another full season as part of the Stobart VK M–Sport Ford Rally Team, again partnered by Michael Orr, and again using the championship–winning Ford Focus RS WRC06. For the first time in his career, Wilson had the advantage of returning to more than one event with a set of pacenotes already in hand. This undoubtedly made life easier as he pushed for more impressive results in his second full season.

At the midway point of the 2007 season Wilson had been progressing steadily. To open his account he was the top–placed Stobart VK M–Sport Ford Team driver in Rallye Monte Carlo, finishing 12th. Rally Sweden was not so kind to the 20–year–old, it was his first ever DNF in a WRC event after the breather pipe on his Focus RS froze up bringing his rally to a halt.

Corona Rally Mexico proved successful for Wilson, putting in a sterling drive to finish the event eighth and claim his first drivers’ point for 2007. The next four events saw steady performances from the youngster finishing three of them inside the top 12 including the BP Ultimate Acropolis Rally of Greece where he finished a well earned tenth overall.

The second half of 2007 proved a far better show as the youngster put the pedal to the metal to showcase his true potential by scoring drivers’ points over the final three events of the year. Rally Japan was first off and Wilson finished in an amazing fourth place, his highest ever placing in a world championship round.

Then in Ireland, an event he won in 2005 when it was run as a candidate event, the youngster scooped up two drivers’ points by finishing in seventh. It was perhaps the final event however that really showed his improvement over the year.

Against a host of world rally cars the Cumbrian lad finished his ’home’ event sixth ahead of some well established drivers as he took the result on pure speed and not on the back of other competitors misfortunes. This resulted saw him finish the championship in 11th and will certainly be a confident platform leading into the 2008 championship.

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