Wilson looks to take a step up on to the podium

Another World Rally Championship beckons, almost before the dust settled on the previous one, and that suits Britain's sole full-time competitor, Matthew Wilson, just fine.

The Stobart Ford driver ended last season with three consecutive points-scoring finishes and is eager to hit the ground running when business resumes at the daunting Monte Carlo rally next weekend.

Wilson, 21 in nine days' time, is anxious to maintain that momentum and come of age as a WRC driver and has set himself the goal of a maiden podium.

"I want to take another step in my career this year," he said. "I'm looking for consistent points through the year and I really believe I could get myfirst podium by the end of the season. I would need everything to work in my favour, with one or two other drivers to have problems, for that to happen but I'm going into the season with much more confidence that I can achieve that goal."

Wilson has carried a heavy burden of national expectation since he was given his chance at this level two years ago. Britain is desperately seeking the next Colin McRae or Richard Burns to raise the profile of the sport.

Being the son of Ford's rally team principal, Malcolm Wilson, has heaped still more pressure on the young Cumbrian, but his form in the later stages of last season significantly improved. He was highly satisfied with his sixth place in the final round, Rally GB, just seven weeks ago.

"I was competitive throughout that weekend and all the top works guys were running at the end, so I took a lot of encouragement from that. It showed I had the pace to compete and the ability to stay the course.

"Obviously I'm aware of the expectations, but I'm actually finding it easier now than when I first got the drive because I'm used to it and I know I'm making progress all the time. I have learned so much over the last two seasons and that has taken a lot of the pressure off me."

Wilson hopes to secure a works drive, ideally with the senior Ford team, in two years. Finland's Jari-Matti Latvala set the template, earning promotion from Stobart to replace his retired countryman, Marcus Gronholm. "Jari's progress is an added incentive for me," Wilson said. "He's a couple of years ahead of me. I'd like to think I can do the same, and then start planning for the world title."

Ford's plans are in the hands of Latvala and Mikko Hirvonen, another Finn who is expected to lead the challenge to Citroën's Sébastien Loeb, the champion for the past four years. Wilson said: "Mikko and Jari have got a real chance of upsetting Seb. He is still the man to beat and very motivated. But Mikko is ready to be a No 1. He copes with pressure and loves the fight."

News
Disruption at Waterloo after a person was hit by a train
newsCancellations and disrupted service after person hit by train
Arts and Entertainment
music
Arts and Entertainment
The almost deserted Liverpool Echo Arena on Monday
tvCan X Factor last in the face of plummeting numbers auditioning
News
Kirsty Bertarelli is launching a singing career with an album of songs detailing her observations of “real life”
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence