History

Guy Wilks

With a rally racing father and a family steeped in car culture, it was almost inevitable that Peugeot UK’s Guy Wilks would take up motorsport.

Although Guy was too young to remember his father Philip’s triumphs as an amateur rally driver, he reckons racing is in his genes and is now one of leading lights in British rallying.

Guy grew up in a small village near Darlington with his parents and three brothers. From an early age he was a keen sportsman, both on foot and on two wheels.

He explains: “The four of us boys shared a Yamaha TY80 trial bike and I was mad keen on BMX. We even built our own BMX track in a park by the house. I would play any sport I could. I played cricket and squash for the county and I was a decent rugby player.”

But it was four-wheeled action that grabbed Guy’s imagination when he was a child and long before he could drive he was hooked on rally, making regular trips to watch the RAC event in Hamsterley Forest.

He recalls: “My friend lived in the middle of the forest, so from the age of seven I would stay over at his house and get up in the middle of the night to watch the rally coming through. It was and still is an incredible spectator sport. The buzz you feel inside when you see a rally car coming through the forest in the dead of night is just amazing.”

After finishing school and completing his A levels, Guy went to work in the family business, a car dealership, where he ran the workshop. Inevitably given his family history, at the age of 19 he decided to try rally driving and after just half a day practising lined up to take part in an event at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire.

“I wanted to see how difficult it was, I didn’t enter because I thought I would be any good, I was inquisitive. I didn’t tell anyone in my family. I wanted to try it without any pressure,” he explains.

Guy was a natural. Competing in a 1.3 Ford Ka on a surface of sheet ice he was second place in a field of over 80 cars and ahead of Escort Cosworths and Metro 6R4s after two stages.

“Then the sun came up and the ice started to melt,” he laughs. “And that’s when power takes over. The car didn’t do so well after that, we pedalled it hard but unfortunately we finished 13th or 14thoverall.”

However that first foray into motorsport was enough to prove his potential and he became British Ford Ka Junior Champion in his rookie season in 2000.

In 2003, Guy gave up working in the family business to contest six rounds of the FIA Junior World Rally Championship in a privately-entered Ford Puma S1600. His speed and professionalism caught the eye of Suzuki and he joined their factory team from 2004 to 2006.

Guy narrowly missed out on three junior world titles with Suzuki before returning home and clinching back-to-back British titles with Mitsubishi UK in 2007 and 2008.

He first entered the IRC in 2009 and drove for Skoda UK in 2010, during which a dramatic injury sustained in Sardinia halted his challenge for the driver’s title.

After coming off the road on a bend his car hit a boulder. The impact left Guy with two crushed vertebrae and he was airlifted to hospital.

He recalls: “As a driver you never give up until it’s over, and even though it all happened in half a second I remember seeing a bush and thinking ‘there’s a field behind it, we should be ok’. But as we went through the bush it flattened and revealed two massive boulders, then bang!

“I felt the pain instantly; it was like someone hitting me in the back with a hammer. I have never felt pain like it.”

Guy was determined to get back behind the wheel of a rally car as soon as possible and speeded up his recovery by making regular trips to a hyperbaric oxygen chamber.

It worked  -  and within three months he was back in action.

Now fully recovered and fighting fit, Guy took up the offer of the hottest seat in rallying for the 2011 IRC season when he joined the Peugeot UK team to drive the 207 S2000 with his long-time co-driver Phil Pugh.

After becoming a first time father last year, Guy now has a new devoted new fan; his daughter Florence who follows his progress with his partner Sarah from the comfort of a papoose and isn’t fazed by the roar of her dad’s engine as he tears past.

He’s looking forward to big things this season.

Guy Wilks Monte Carlo 2011

“The team has a great car, a high level of professionalism, a belief in my ability and they have a will to win. We share the same ambition, and that is to win the championship and to do it with as much style as possible,” he says.

With a podium place on his first outing with the team in Monte Carlo, it looks like 2011 could be Guy’s year.

Previous Results

2010 - 6th, Intercontinental Rally Challenge

2008 - British Rally Champion

2007 - British Rally Champion

2006 - 4th, Junior World Rally Championship

2005 - 2nd, Junior World Rally Championship

2004 - 3rd, Junior World Rally Championship

2004 - British Super 1600 Rally Champion

2004 - British Junior Champion

2004 - Autosport National Rally Driver Of The Year

2003 - 7th, Junior World Rally Championship

2002 - 3rd, British Super 1600 Rally Championship

2001 - 2nd Runner-up in the British Ford Puma 1400 Championship

2000 - British Ford Ka Junior Champion

 

RALLY WINS

BRC: 8

JWRC: 5

PWRC: 1

IRC: 1

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Time until: RACMSA Rally of Scotland

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