Wilson up to 5th after day two

Wilson up to 5th after day twoFrom Stobart Ford Press [ 01/11/2008 ].
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Twenty-one-year-old Matthew Wilson and co-driver Scott Martin continue to battle on for the Stobart VK M-Sport Ford rally team as they moved to fifth overall after day 2 of Rally Japan; round 14 of the FIA World Rally Championship.

The young British driver advanced one place from his overnight position despite a less convincing day today where he struggled to find yesterday’s rhythm and a good connection with his newly made pacenotes. However, his consistent and steady approach rewarded the youngster with a top-five finish by day’s end and a strong points haul position for tomorrow’s final tests.

The latest news on the injuries of team-mate Patrick Pivato have come through this afternoon and he has now been in a stable condition for over six hours as doctors are happy with his progress; however the French co-driver still remains in a critical condition in intensive care.

Today covered a total of 156.78 kilometres of competitive distance and included two passes of the monster Kamuycep test which, at 33.66 kilometres in length, is the longest of the rally. The day also took in two passes over the Sapporo Dome super special.

The opening eight stages were all contested to the south of Rally HQ in Sapporo before returning to the dome for the two super specials. Weather conditions favoured crews today with clear skies but chilly temperatures still remained throughout the day. Fortunately for Wilson his Pirelli Scorpion gravel tyres withstood the battering caused by tremendous ruts and holes which littered the second pass of the afternoon stages.

Tomorrow’s final leg will not be held lightly by any of the crews as Rally Japan once again paves the way for another dramatic final day of action. Day 3 will offer 96.43 kilometres as the final leg is set to again take place to the south of Rally HQ.

Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Team Driver Matthew Wilson said:
“We kept our noses clean today and although it hasn’t been the best of performances it has worked out perfectly and we are in a solid spot to score good points for the Stobart team. Today has been one of the toughest days of rallying I have contested in a while. The stages, especially over the second pass, were extremely rough and rutted and it took a lot to stay out of trouble and I think this is represented by how much drama happened today with several other crews. Tomorrow we will try to get back to the speed we were setting on Friday and try to stay ahead of the guys running behind us.”

Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Team Principal Malcolm Wilson said:
“It is good to see Matthew has improved on his overnight position. He struggled a little bit today to get to grips with the rough conditions on the longest day of the rally, but managed to stay out of trouble and this has paid off as he now lies in fifth position with one day remaining. It is looking like he will be involved in an exciting battle tomorrow with a few more experienced drivers so hopefully he will be able to hang onto fifth spot and score some strong points for the Stobart team.”

Day 2 Leaderboard
1. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen FIN Ford Focus RS 2h21m31.8sec
2. J-M Latvala/M Anttila FIN Ford Focus RS +15.5s
3. S Loeb/D Elena F Citroën C4 +53.5s
4. C Atkinson/S Prevot AUS Subaru Impreza +2m26.0s
5. M Wilson/S Martin GB Ford Focus RS +4m31.6s
6. T Gardemeister/T Tuominen FIN Suzuki SX4 +4m38.5s
7. P-G Andersson/J Andersson SWE Suzuki SX4 +5m11.8s
8. F Villagra/J Perez Companc RA Ford Focus RS +9m59.6s