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Clean start key to James Wilson's Forestry Title bid

James Wilsons season will begin on this weekends Carrick Forestry Rally in a Hyundai i20 R5.
James Wilson’s season will begin on this weekend’s Carrick Forestry Rally in a Hyundai i20 R5. It’s the first round of the Irish Forestry Rally Championship which the 2018 Billy Coleman Award Winner will complete in full.

After sporadic R5 outings last year, Wilson is focusing his 2020 season on the Forestry Championship along with a few tarmac events. It’s the third year in a row Wilson will compete in Carrick-on-Suir after finishing second in the R2 class last year and winning Class 16 in 2018.

“I’m really looking forward to my first rally of the year,” explained Wilson. “With the help of the Motorsport Ireland Academy I feel more prepared than ever going into a new season.

“I have taken my fitness and training to the next level by looking after my diet and nutrition as well as visiting a performance psychologist which was provided by the academy.

“The aim for this weekend is to have a clean rally, making a steady start to the season and getting points on the board.”

Wilson competed on two gravel rallies in an R5 last year and admitted that his podium finish on the Cork Forestry Rally last year gave him the confidence to purchase his Hyundai for 2020. A pre-event shakedown on Thursday was Wilson’s first time driving his new car.

“It was a good opportunity to get a nice comfortable feeling and a good set-up ahead of the six stages on Sunday.

“I’m feeling positive about the i20 because of the level of experience and technical support that PCRS can provide.”

Despite predominantly driving on asphalt before moving to the Junior British Rally Championship in 2018, Wilson has proved to be an accomplished gravel competitor over the past couple of years. A JBRC win this time last year on the Cambrian Rally being the perfect example.

“I think I do enjoy gravel more now, I think I have more confidence on gravel at this point in my career but I am equally looking forward to some tarmac events this year.

“My aim for the season ideally would be to win the Irish Forestry Championship but I know there is a strong opposition that could have something to say about that.

“One thing I know for sure is with my car and Michelin tyres, I’ll have a strong package to get the job done.”

The continued support of the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy has been invaluable to Wilson’s R5 adventure so far. The 25-year-old has benefited from its development days, coaching sessions and financial support to make an R5 campaign possible. The academy’s links with partners such as PCRS, Hyundai Customer Racing and Michelin has also been a real bonus for Wilson.

“Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing’s door is open for technical help, media support and development - the academy covers all those aspects as well.

“It’s not just about creating a fast driver on the stage but a well-rounded driver both in and out of the car.

“I have also been able to build a relationship with Tim Hoare from Michelin through the Academy so I look forward to his support this season too.”

Ahead of his first round of the season, James would like to thank his sponsors: Road Tankers Armagh, Rigual, Emco Wheaton, James Wilson Garage Services, Tec Industrial, Michelin, Motorsport Ireland, Sport Ireland, Hyundai Customer Racing, and the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy.

Wilson is seeded at No. 2 for the Irish Forestry opener with Arthur Kierans continuing as his co-driver.

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