PLAINS sailing is in order for Aaron McClure as he hopes to put his season back on track in Wales this weekend.

The Flookburgh rally driver will contest the third round of the Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series in Welshpool on Saturday, looking to rejuvenate his championship hopes with a decent points haul at the Plains Rally.

Returning to the ultra-competitive Production Cup in 2017 after a lengthy absence for much of last year following a destructive crash, McClure kicked off his season with championship scores in mind, rather than outright wins.

A fifth place at the Cumbrian-based Malcolm Wilson Rally in March gave him high hopes, before a cruel retirement from the Somerset Stages as a rear differential failure in his Yokohama-backed Mitsubishi Evo IX forced him to retire in the closing stages.

His failure to score points means he languishes in ninth in the Production Cup, a far cry from the podium position he was looking for at the start of the season.

McClure, co-driven by Welshman Michael Gilbey, will need to ensure he matches his pace with one eye on the points situation if he is to get his championship aspirations back on track in Wales.

“It seems to be quite a frustrating year for us so far,” said McClure ahead of the Mid-Wales event, which features more than 40 stage miles.

“I was pleased enough with fifth on my home event, as I was still settling back into the car after almost 12 months away.

“We showed some really good pace on the Somerset too, but it was mixed with some slower times as well. That was fine to a certain degree, as all we wanted to do there was finish, but to have to retire on the second-last stage was a bitter pill to swallow.

“The part was new and shouldn’t have failed, but it did. There was nothing we could have really done about it.”

While Somerset has been a scourge – his season-ending crash last season occurred at the same event – the 22-year-old has good memories of the Plains Rally.

He added: “I haven’t done the Plains Rally since 2015, but I took second in the NR4 and Production classes that year, so I have a really fond recollection of the stages.

“A runners-up spot will be a tough ask now, of course, and it’s not really the plan anyway, a decent score is all we are after this time.

“Hopefully this event can be the one to get us up to the front again.”