REBOUNDING rally driver Aaron McClure hopes to build on a solid comeback on home soil as he heads into the rest of the season.

The Flookburgh ace ended close to 12 months of inaction with a solid showing in the Malcolm Wilson Rally.

McClure took 21st place overall and fifth in class in the competitive BTRDA NR4 Production Cup in his Mitsubishi Evo 9 alongside co-driver Michael Gilbey.

The run through 42 stages miles in the Cumbrian forests – including two stages in Grizedale, a stone's throw from his home – came 11 months after he ended his 2016 season in a Somerset ditch.

Driving his freshly rebuilt Yokohama HPT-backed car, McClure ended a painful few months, having spent much of last season rebuilding the car after his Somerset Stages Rally off.

His frustration was followed by the opening round of this year's championship in North Wales being cancelled due to the icy conditions, but he was happy to be back.

“I don’t think it could have gone any better, to be honest,” said McClure.

“The car didn’t miss a beat all day long and it’s a testament to the team for that, the first events are never easy.

“I knew it would be tough to get near the front of the class after being away for so long. I needed to get used to the car again and almost learn everything from scratch.

“We set a few strong times in the morning, which is encouraging, so that’s what we will take to the next round in Somerset. It’s great to be back”.

Topping his second place in class on the Malcolm Wilson last year may have been a ambitious due to the quality of the field, McClure professed from the outset that a finish and points on the board were the target.

He duly delivered his promise from the first stage, being fourth quickest in the category while he settled into the newly-formed team inside the car.

Showing signs of his impressive 2016 pace, he fired in top-three times on the next two stages to end the opening loop in fourth.

The immaculate Mitsubishi required little more than a spanner check in the first service of the day and McClure was happy enough with his pace over the morning tests.

“It was a tricky start to the season really and the stages were not the easiest to try and build your confidence on,” he said. “The grip levels were changing all the time.”

Two tests in Grizedale followed and a conservative time through the first stage dropped McClure to fifth in NR4.

Despite his confidence returning in the second, he went back to service before the final stage pleased to still be in the event after a few near misses on the slippery Cumbrian gravel.

Not wanting to jeopardise any chance of a result, McClure eased his way through the last Greystoke stage to cross the finish ramp with a worthy points haul to kickstart his return to the series.

The South Cumbrian is back in action in the Somerset Stages on April 8, in Minehead, looking to avoid a repeat of last year's accident.