UNLUCKY driver Aaron McClure is hopeful he will be able to battle it out in the Malcolm Wilson Rally in March.

The Flookburgh racer rolled his car in the season-opening Cambrian Rally, with his Mitsubishi Evo 9 heavily damaged.

McClure had feared his chances of competing in the Cumbrian event – which is based in Cockermouth and takes in two stages in Grizedale Forest on Saturday, March 12 – were over when he saw the work needed.

However, some fast and efficient work by local company Carcraft means the four-wheeled drive machine is close to being fixed and ready to go, though it will still take some late nights from the driver and his team to be 100 per cent for the race.

“It’s coming along a lot quicker than we expected,” said McClure, who is targeting success in the BTRDA Rally Series Production Cup this season. “We were 50/50 whether we were going to make the Malcolm Wilson and it’s maybe 80/20 now, it’s looking better.

“The damage was as bad as we thought, but the guys at Carcraft in Flookburgh have managed to get it all repaired much quicker than we expected. They’re pulling out all the stops to get it fixed in time.

“It’s coming along nicely and we’re hoping we will have two weeks to sort out the mechanical side.

“When you’ve got a day job, that still means there is only really one weekend and two days to get it all up and running. It’s still going to be very tight, but we’re a lot more hopeful than we were on the way back from the Cambrian.”

He added: “It’s had a new roof fitted and the roof pillars were really bad. It’s having all new panels all the way round and it needed front-end repair in the chassis as well.

“The most annoying part is that it was such a small accident, but the car rolled on to some trees, which have caused most of the damage. If the road had been another five feet wider, we wouldn’t have had any issues at all getting it back out.”

McClure was able to switch the engine off quickly after the accident and has tested it since, so he and his All Floors Express/Yokohama-backed team are hopeful that aspect of the repairs will not take up too much time.

If all goes to plan, he will be looking to produce a strong showing in the Malcolm Wilson and build towards his Production Cup bid, with a non-finish in the season-opener leaving him needing a good display.

“We didn’t finish the Malcolm Wilson last year, so there is a little bit of unfinished business,” said the 21-year-old.

“As far as the championship goes, it wasn’t how we wanted to start in the first event. We’re hoping we can make it to the second round.

“It’s still a very long championship, but if we didn’t start the Malcolm Wilson, we would have to have top scores in every remaining round. If we make it to the Malcolm Wilson, it gives us one more score which doesn’t count towards the championship.

“There are eight rallies and the best six scores count, so you can afford two bad results in the year. We’ve used one and we still have one in hand, we don’t want to have one at the Malcolm Wilson or else we will need to have six strong finishes from the remain