Meet the Patrons
Along with countryman Kris Meeke, Guy Wilks is the Briton best equipped to follow in the footsteps of Richard Burns and one day become world rally champion.
Wilks, 29, has twice held the British title and has also made a strong impression on the international stage as a frontrunner in the Junior World Rally Championship before he became a winner in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.
Like Burns, Wilks progressed through the British rallying ranks and achieved success every step of the way. He started out in a Ford Ka before switching to a Ford Puma and then into a Suzuki Ignis when the Japanese make showed an interest and signed him on a multi-year deal.
His programme also included the highly competitive JWRC where Wilks finished an impressive third overall in 2004 before taking the runner-up spot in 2005, coming close to the title on both occasions.
He finished fourth in the young driver division in 2006 with wins in Argentina and Finland and could quite easily have gone on to take the title had he enjoyed better fortune during the campaign.
Wilks switched his attentions back to Britain for 2007 when he landed a seat in a works Mitsubishi Lancer, the car he used to make his WRC debut in Sweden back in 2002.
He repaid Mitsubishi’s faith by taking the title after a close battle with Mark Higgins and successfully defended his crown the following season.
In 2007, he also embarked on a programme of WRC events in a Ford Focus run by the Ramsport team. He showed plenty of promise but a points finish eluded him until his switch to a Subaru Impreza for Rally Ireland where he finished sixth overall in treacherous conditions.
He spent 2008 splitting his time between his BRC programme and a test and development role with the Honda-blessed JAS Motorsport team of Italy competing in countries such as Australia, Russia and Finland, where he took the two-wheel drive spoils in an impressive 18th overall against drivers with more potent machinery.
After a planned ride with works Subaru team for 2009 evaporated when the make quit the WRC at the 11th hour, Wilks returned to the BRC and was leading the Pirelli International Rally in a Proton Satria Neo Super 2000 until a freak occurrence resulted in the car being destroyed by fire.
Proton was impressed with his pace, however, and handed him a selected IRC campaign before he secured a Skoda UK-backed drive on the season-closing Rally of Scotland, where he claimed victory.
He remained with Skoda in 2010 and was looking to extend his run of podium finishes in the IRC when he crashed heavily in Sardinia and broke his back. His recovery took three months but he returned with a points finish in Czech Republic. He will continue in the series in 2011, albeit at the wheel of a Peugeot UK 207, the company that played such a key role in Richard’s early career.