AARON McClure rediscovered his form and made his mark with a high-speed display at the Plains Rally.

The Flookburgh driver put recent disappointment in Somerset behind him as he set a scorching pace in and around Welshpool.

McClure took fourth place in the hotly-contested NR4 category, making up for his retirement in the previous round of the Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series.

The 22-year-old was sitting ninth place in the standings after his round two mechanical issues, and was eager to climb the leader board in Wales.

He initially headed into the forests with a goal of adding to his tally – having enjoyed the opening round on local tracks in the Malcolm Wilson Rally – and 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 event Wales Rally GB, and McClure knew them well.

Despite not having contested the rally since 2015, he was quietly confident as he left the 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 South Cumbrian was fighting to stay anywhere near the leading contenders in the class.

The team set about making 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, 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 fourth spot in class and a fine 17th overall.

“I really thought it was going to be really hard work after the mornings stages,” said McClure, who had almost a year out of action before returning behind the wheel in Fabruary.

“The car was really not nice to drive and those stages are difficult at the best of times without your subconscious 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 was happy with fourth spot, but the renewed confidence also brought extra gains.

He added: “Everything was just perfect in the 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, as it proves we still have that pace. We just need to carry that over to the Carlisle stages in a month's time”.

Round four of the BTRDA Rally Series, The Carlisle Rally, takes place on Saturday, June 10, and takes crews into the notorious Kielder Forest complex.