Mark geared up for Welsh turn

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NEWTON Stewart rally driver Mark McCulloch will be in action on the opening round of the prestigious BRC Challenge in North Wales on Saturday.

The former Scottish Junior champion is aiming for a clean run and a good points haul when he contests the Bulldog Challenge Rally in his recently-acquired Ford Fiesta ST.

The BRC Challenge is the main support for the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship.

Mark and co-driver Craig Wallace from Kirriemuir have had one competitive outing in the car when they finished 36th overall on last month’s Malcolm Wilson Rally - the first round of the Fiesta Sport Challenge, which runs alongside the BRC series.

“I struggled a bit with the change in pacenotes to what I’m used to in the Scottish championship and we had a small off on the fifth stage which resulted in some damage, but we still managed to finish fourth of the Fiestas, so it was a promising start”, said Mark.

The 24-year-old is hoping some of the teething problems encountered on the Malcolm Wilson have been ironed out in preparation for this wekend’s Welshpool-based event – including better brakes and suspension set-up.

“ The pace within the championship is fantastic and with 12 teams fighting for the same prize it makes it very competitive. Looking at the time sheets from the Malcolm Wilson, we need to find a second a mile to be on the leaders’ pace which we are aiming to be on by round 3 - the Pirelli - at the end of April”.

Meanwhile, Minnigaff co-driver Laura Marshall will also be competing tomorrow alongside Duns-based Garry Pearson in his Nissan Micra.

In February, the pair got their campaign off to a dream start with a fourth-place finish and first in class in a Subaru Impreza on Rallye Sunseeker – the opening round of the British championship.

The result was all the more impressive in that it marked 19-year-old Garry’s rallying debut in a 4-wheel drive car, after he won the prize-drive as part of the 2010 Scottish championship.