Guy Wilks, who returned to Intercontinental Rally Challenge action on Barum Czech Rally Zlin last month after recovering from injury, believes he is already back at his best, despite a persistent mechanical fault masking his true pace on the asphalt event.
The 29-year-old Briton was sidelined for almost three months after fracturing his first and second lumbar vertebrae in a high-speed crash on Rally d’Italia-Sardegna in early June. He marked his comeback with the Skoda UK Motorsport squad by finishing seventh on the Czech round in his Fabia S2000 after being hampered by a rear differential glitch that proved impossible to rectify.
"It was a chaotic rally and we battled against lots of problems but ultimately we came away with some points and some pace as well, which is the most important thing," said Wilks. "If we get the car 100 per cent we can say we’re back in the dry although it’s difficult to say how close to the game we are in the wet. But my confidence is back and I can’t wait for the next event."
After nine rounds, Wilks has 27 points and is in sixth place in the IRC drivers‘ standings. His next event is in Sanremo, Italy, from 23-25 September.
Mikkelsen satisfied with ongoing IRC progress
Twelve months on from his debut in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, Andreas Mikkelsen says his maiden campaign in the series is continuing to go in the right direction after he landed drivers points for the third time this season on Barum Czech Rally Zlin in late August.
Mikkelsen, 21, made his IRC debut on the Tarmac event in August 2009, and secured fifth overall on his return to the demanding rally last month at the wheel of his M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000.
We were much closer to the guys at the head of the field than we were in Ypres, which was the last Tarmac rally we did, said the Norwegian. We still have some work to do to be even more competitive but its definitely going in the right direction. Zlin was a very difficult rally because you never knew how much grip you would have in the difficult conditions. A lot of things happened but I am very pleased to have finished in the points once again.
Mikkelsen will return to IRC action on round 10 of the series, Rallye Sanremo in Italy from 23-25 September.
Loix tops all-time list of IRC event winners
Freddy Loixs victory on Barum Czech Rally Zlin last month has moved him ahead of Kris Meeke to the top of the all-time list of Intercontinental Rally Challenge event winners.
Loix, who took first place in the Czech Republic at the wheel of a Skoda Motorsport Fabia Super 2000, has now won six IRC rallies, a new record for the series.
Hailing from Belgium but now living in the south of France, the 39-year-old Loix captured his first IRC success on his home event, the Ypres Rally, in 2008. He notched up further wins in Zlin and Valais that season before triumphing again in Ypres and Madeira this year.
He said: I am very happy with this win, my third of the season and my sixth in the IRC. I would like to thank my sponsor BFO and Skoda Motorsport to give me the possibility to do three rallies no with this fantastic car. Youll see me back in Sanremo.
Other IRC event winners (selected):
Five wins: Kris Meeke (Brazil 2009, Azores 2009, Ypres 2009, Sanremo 2009, Brazil 2010)
Four wins: Giandomenico Basso (Madeira 2007, Asturias 2008, Sanremo 2008, Madeira 2009)
Four wins: Juho Hanninen (Russia 2008, Russia 2009, Argentina 2010, Sardinia 2010)
Four wins: Luca Rossetti (Ypres 2007, Sanremo 2007, Istanbul 2008, Portugal 2008)
Four wins: Nicolas Vouilloz (Turkey 2007, Zlin 2007, Valais 2007, Madeira 2008)
Three wins: Jan Kopecky (Zlin 2009, Asturias 2009, Canarias 2010)