ENGINES are being fine-tuned, drivers are revving themselves up, and the Malcolm Wilson Rally is ready to roar into action around Cumbria on Saturday.

The Cockermouth-based event will take in two stages around Grizedale Forest as some of the country’s fastest off-road aces race for supremacy.

Among the 130 drivers will be Flookburgh’s Aaron McClure – itching for action after his return from almost a year away from the sport last month was scuppered by the weather.

McClure will be among the field contesting the second round of the Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series, after snow and ice put paid to the season-opening Cambrian Rally in North Wales last month.

McClure is looking forward to getting his 2017 BTRDA Production Cup campaign underway at his home event, which sees drivers tackle 42 miles over seven stages in Greystoke, Wythop and Grizedale.

The 42nd running of the Malcolm Wilson Rally has attracted a bumper field looking to follow last year’s winner Charlie Payne into the record books.

Among them are 2013 and 2015 winner Euan Thorburn, looking for a hat-trick of success, 2012 champion Hugh Hunter and 2008 winner David Bogie.

Stephen Petch and Michael Wilkinson, who won the Grizedale Stages Rally in November over some of the same tracks, will hope to follow up for a double success.

McClure, backed by tyre firm Yokohama, is seeded 30th and will pilot his freshly built Mitsubishi Evo 9, co-driven by Michael Gilbey.

The new pairing joined together for the Cambrian Rally, but any chance to prove their pace on the stages was lost when the Llandudno event was cancelled after just one stage.

McClure now begins his season “at home” and is looking for a solid result in the Lake District stages, hoping to replicate last year’s class NR4 podium spot and top-10 overall finish.

He said: “Of course winning is always at the top of the agenda, that’s why we are here after all.

“But with the first round being cancelled, we now have fewer opportunities to score points, so we do have to keep one eye on the leader board during the day.

“We will take each stage as it comes, but we are not here just to make up the numbers. I had a fantastic result last year, taking second in the Production Cup and that’s somewhere I’d like to be again this time around.

“A top-10 is a little ambitious though, as there is a lot of competition in the top-30 crews, so a top-20 would be more realistic I`d say.”

The event is one of McClure’s favourite rounds on the calendar, and he added: “Competing just a few miles from home is pretty unbeatable and I really love this rally.

“The stages in Grizedale really suit my driving style, and I feel very confident in those forests. The local support is fantastic too and it’s great to see people supporting us in the stages.”

Also among the entries on Saturday is Millom co-driver Chris Williams, who will be partnering Fred Milne in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9.