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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

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Matthew Wilson eyes comeback in Greece rally

Cumbrian driver Matthew Wilson pledged he won’t return to World Rally Championship action until he has completely recovered from the injuries that have forced him to miss the last three rounds.

Matthew Wilson photo
Matthew Wilson

Wilson has targeted the Acropolis Rally in Greece for a possible return but won’t rush back in case he suffers a set-back.

Britain’s top rally driver broke his left leg and suffered a dislocated ankle and damaged ligaments when he slipped on ice while out fell running at Latrigg while training to get himself in peak condition for February’s Swedish Rally.

He underwent two operations to insert plates and screws into his leg, and is still receiving physio treatment.

However, the 24-year-old Cockermouth driver has been back behind the wheel of a Ford World Rally team car at Kirkbride Airfield, near Carlisle, ahead of next weekend’s Argentinean Rally.

Wilson said: “I’m making good progress and, although it has been frustrating, I’m determined that my ankle will be right before I return.

“The last thing I want to do is come back, struggle and set myself back, so I want to make sure I’m 100 per cent.

“Greece is the target now and I’ve been going out training on a bike to build my strength up.

“I don’t think I’ve lost too much fitness and I am getting physio regularly. I’m also going to Argentina and that will give me a chance to get some physio from the Ford team physio.”

The accident couldn’t have happened at a worse time as Wilson, and his Carlisle co-driver Scott Martin, had just secured funding to contest all 12 of the WRC rounds.

He has hoped to be back behind the wheel in time for the Portuguese Rally on March 29 or the forthcoming Argentinean Rally – the longest and most arduous event in the WRC Calendar – so he didn’t lose too much ground in the drivers’ championship.

But he had to delay his return as he didn’t recover as quickly as he first hoped even though he is making fast progress.

Wilson said: “I underestimated the injury at the start and was maybe a bit too ambitious in thinking I would be back earlier.

“Ligaments take a while to heal and the ones I damaged control your ankle movements.

“Although it has taken longer than I anticipated, it’s only nine weeks. A lot of people would still be in a cast at eight weeks, so things have progressed quickly.”

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