Former M-Sport driver returns to WRC as illness rules out Qatari.
Mon 04.02.13, 10:10PM
Matthew Wilson will replace Nasser Al-Attiyah at the wheel of the Qatar M-Sport Ford Fiesta RS WRC car at this weekend’s Rally Sweden after the Qatari driver fell ill.
Al-Attiyah was unable to attend his scheduled pre-event test on Monday and will skip the event as he concentrates on making a full recovery in time for his next motorsport commitment.
“After so much disappointment last season, it is an absolutely fantastic feeling to know that I will be back behind the wheel of a world rally car this week."
Wilson will take to the wheel alongside Al-Attiyah’s regular co-driver Giovanni Bernacchini. Wilson last joined the WRC field at his home event when he contested Wales Rally GB in 2012. The Briton also has good knowledge of the Swedish round having contested the snow-covered stages on a number of previous occasions – scoring his best result of 7th in 2010, one place ahead of snow-expert Mads Østberg.
With a broken ankle forcing him to forfeit last year’s event, Wilson said he is thrilled to have the opportunity to tackle the snow and ice once again.
“After so much disappointment last season, it is an absolutely fantastic feeling to know that I will be back behind the wheel of a world rally car this week,” he said. “It all came as a bit of a shock really – I found out I would be competing last night and flew to Sweden this morning!
“The recce starts tomorrow, and I’m confident that Gio and I will work well together. It’s always tricky adapting to a new co-driver, but he is amongst one of the best in the business.”
Of his withdrawal Al-Attiyah said: “I am extremely disappointed not to be travelling to Sweden with the team this week, but it is important that I concentrate on making a full recovery for my next event.
“I know Matthew well, and know that he will do a good job for the team. I’ll be following all the crews’ progress from home, and will keep my fingers crossed for a good result.”