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Wilks, from Durham, reached the semi-finals in today’s opening round at Barcelona at the wheel of his LOCO Energy Drink and Karting North East-backed Volkswagen RX Polo.

The 36 year old is the only permanent British driver in the world’s premier rallycross series this year, and is running as an independent entry in his first full season in the championship.

But this did little to stop him beating off several factory efforts as he made his way through the four qualifying sessions.

His weekend began with a strong Q1 where he emerged 10th quickest on Saturday morning, which he followed up later that afternoon with the 13th quickest time in Q2. He was then 11th in Q3 on Sunday morning, before a fantastic run in Q4 where he catapulted himself up to eighth.

This gave him a place in the semi-finals, where two groups of six cars battled it out for one of six spots in the final.

As Mattias Ekström edged into the lead, Wilks wasn’t as quick off the line, slipping down to sixth in the opening lap. But on his third lap he made a move on Jean-Baptiste Dubourg to move into fifth and then made another bold move to pass Reinis Nitiss who dropped back to sixth.

Now in fourth, Wilks threw everything into making up the time lost in the earlier laps, but despite his best efforts was unable to fight his way up to third and a place in the final.

But he admitted he was still delighted with his result, as well as the pace of his ex-Johan Kristoffersson machine.

“It’s been an unbelievable weekend, the fact we fought our way up and made it all the way to the semi-final where we were pushing four manufacturers with two-car teams is just incredible,” he said.

“The level we are up against here is just phenomenal, and to be here, knocking on the door of a place in the final as we did today, is something we couldn’t have dreamed of five weeks ago when we started to pull this whole thing together.

“Of course the semi-final was the toughest, but in this championship you have to take risks in the semis and the final, and that’s what we all did. I got knocked into the barrier and up onto two wheels and I had to fight like hell, but those four laps after were the best I’ve driven.”

Wilks and his team had had no time to test the car before the event, doing most of it in public when they arrived at the Spanish track on Friday, and now, as he lies seventh overall in the championship chase, he knows he is a good position for the rest of the season.

“This is all thanks to the hard work from the team, they’ve done an amazing job and it’s proof of what you can do when you have a team around you who you can really trust.Guy Walks

“For me, leaving here with a result like this is more than I could’ve hoped for, and knowing I’ve beaten some big names here, including Sebastian Loeb, a man who hasn’t been out of a car for 17 years, is just the icing on the cake, and I think this sets us up for a really strong season.”

Wilks will be back out in action for round two in three weeks’ time at the Bompiso World RX of Portugal at Montalegre on 21 April.

Championships points after Round 1:
1.         Mattias Ekström 31
2.         Timo Scheider 26
3.         Andreas Bakkerud 22
4.         Johan Kristoffersson 21
5.         Petter Solberg 19
6.         Timmy Hansen 17
7.         Guy Wilks 12
8.         Toomas Heikkinen 11
9.         Ken Block 11
10.       Reinis Nitiss 8

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