World Rally star Wilson promotes motor sport to Cardiff students
After the pre-rally Shakedown for the final round in this season’s FIA World Rally Championship in Wales, Matthew Wilson took some time out to show local school kids around the Ford Focus RS WRC car which he will be racing on behalf of Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team to complete this year’s series.

Matthew has had a successful season this year with Stobart; he is already assured of his best ever points total for a WRC season, while his team mate Henning Solberg needs to earn five points to equal his best ever finish.

Back on home turf Matthew is hoping to put on a spectacular performance for fans and spectators, but has also teamed up with the Motor Sport Association’s Go Motorsport campaign to encourage people to get involved in the world of motor sport.

Following the recent success of Britain’s Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button in the Formula One World Championship Go Motorsport has worked to debunk the myth that competing in motor sport is beyond the reach of most people, and aims to increase the numbers of competitors and marshals every year.

A particular emphasis has been placed on engaging schools in motor sport. This year the MSA were represented at the School Sport’s Partnership Conference and Exhibition for the very first time to promote its Go Motorsport school visits programme as well as the British Schools Karting Championship.

Matthew Wilson was behind the wheel from a young age. He won the 2002 T-Cars Championship – open exclusively to kids between 14 and 17 – and became the youngest ever winner of a British Rally Championship event back in 2005, aged just 18. Now 22, and soon to have four WRC seasons under his belt, he has taken the opportunity to team up with Go Motorsport and help the kids of Fitzalan High School in Cardiff to follow in his tracks.

Fitzalan High has an impressive motor sporting record itself, with their ‘Team Dash’ winning this season’s F1 in Schools Welsh Regional Competition and becoming National Rookie champions. Most recently the team competed at the World Final; congratulations are due to team members Daniel Hooper, Sam Higgett, Jack Smith, Leslie Flynn, Stuart Winterbottom and Tom Nolloth who all met Matthew today.

Fitzalan High’s ‘Team Dash’ therefore had plenty to talk about with Matthew as he showed them around his state of the art Ford Focus RS WRC car and discussed what it’s like to compete in the World Rally Championship; some of them aspire to a career in motor sport themselves.

Khalid Rahmani, the Design and Technology teacher at Fitzalan High who accompanied ‘Team Dash’ to the WRC service area, is also a fan of rally racing. He said: “I would definitely encourage all schools to get involved. We’ve been very successful this year, the boys won the regionals and got to the World Final: one of thirty teams. They were the youngest team there and there were 3 million entrants into the competition so that was fantastic. Motor sport is a great inspiration for kids.”

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