By MCR Motorsport Media, May 15 2017 11:33AM
Cumbrian rally ace Aaron McClure stamps his mark on the time sheets during last weekend’s Plains Rally in Wales
Flookburgh rally driver Aaron McClure found the pace he has been looking for all season as he took 4th in the hotly contested NR4 category at last weekend’s Plains Rally in Welshpool.
McClure headed to round three of the Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series down in ninth place in the standings after his round two retirement. Eager to climb the leader board in Wales, McClure initially headed into the forests with a goal of simply adding to his tally, boosting his hopes of claiming a podium result in the championship.
Split into two loops, the event utilised stages made famous by the World Rally Championship qualifier Wales Rally GB and McClure knew them well. Despite not having contested the rally since 2015, he was quietly confident as he left the Welshpool start.
However, it soon became apparent that McClure had a lack of confidence in the Yokohama backed Mitsubishi Evo IX and was suffering from a handling issue which stunted his performance over the opening four stages. The 22 year old Cumbrian was fighting to stay anywhere near the leading contenders in the class.
The team set about making some changes to the car at the service halt and McClure, with regular co-driver Michael Gilbey alongside headed back out for the final loop of tests in the Dyfi and Gartheiniog forest complex.
The car was duly transformed by the changes and the duo set a string of top three times in the NR4 class over the closing stages to record his mark of intent for the next round in Carlisle, finishing in 4th spot and a fine 17th overall.
“I really did think it was going to be really hard work today after the mornings stages” said McClure. “The car was really not nice to drive and those stages are difficult at the best of times without your sub conscience telling you how unnerving the car was. But fair play to the guys back at service, we had a chat about it and made some changes. It was like a different car in the afternoon.”
With points being the main goal, McClure would have been happy with fourth spot. But the renewed confidence brought extra gains.
“Everything was just perfect this afternoon, the car was totally different to drive and it was like whole new event. I did have a bit of a glitch in the sixth stage but the other tests were fantastic and we set some impressive times in there. I`m really chuffed to be honest with you as it proves we still have that pace. We just need to carry that over to the Carlisle stages in a months’ time”.
Round four of the BTRDA Rally Series, The Carlisle Rally takes place on Saturday 10th June and takes crews into the notorious Kielder forest complex.