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After dominating the Production Class in round one, the Rally of Wales, Mitsubishi Motors UK works team drivers, Rory Galligan and David Higgins are aiming for more of the same in this weekend's (20th & 21st May) second round of the 2005 Pirelli Kwik-Fit British Rally Championship.

Of course for Higgins (from Trefeglwys) and his co-driver Daniel Barritt (from Burnley), a finish will be well and truly on their agenda. After holding a comfortable Group N lead and lying second overall, a puncture, which led to the tyre disintegrating and damaging the oil cooler as they tried to drive out of the stage, was to see them exit the opening round with just two stages to go.

The Pirelli Rally is likely to be 'Ground Hog Day' for Higgins, with his old sparring partner and rival from the late 90s, Tapio Laukannen, scheduled to appear in a Group N Subaru.

"It's going to be a tough weekend", commented Higgins. "On one hand I have honour to uphold against Tapio and on the other I need to get some points on the board following my non-finish in Wales - plus there's the added pressure of being in Kielder Forest. However, I'm very comfortable with the car and having won this event overall last year it's good to be starting at number one."

Galligan (from Oldcastle) and his co-driver Greg Shinnors (from Limerick), were the Production category victors on round one and although targeting a repeat result this weekend, will be hoping for an easier time on their way there, having had to contend with two punctures and gear selection problems in Wales.

"Having won first time out I now feel confident with the car and also with Greg. It was our first event together", said Galligan. "The Pirelli Rally will see another first for me, as I have to admit I have never driven on gravel in the dark, so it will mean 100% concentration right from the word go, but I'm up for it!"

Paul Brigden, General Manager for Ralliart in the UK, sees the Pirelli Rally as a significant event for the team:

"We were delighted with the team's performance in Wales, but Kielder is going to be a real test for cars and crews. It hasn't earnt its reputation for nothing. We welcome the increased competition from Subaru, it will add to the challenges in store for us this weekend."

The rally starts and finishes in Carlisle and features seven timed special stages on Friday evening, two of them being the new P-Zero spectator stage at Newby Grange. There then follows a further five stages in the infamous Kielder Forest, before crews return to Carlisle at midnight for the overnight halt.

Competitors restart at 7.00 am on Saturday and head back to Kielder and Newby Grange for another 11 stages, with the finish in Carlisle at around 4.30 pm.

The two Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII MRs are prepared by ADR Motorsport of Chesterfield on behalf of Cirencester based Mitsubishi Motors UK. The team is sponsored by: Pirelli, Shell Racing Fuels, Rampage Performance Motorparts, Speedline Corse, PIAA and ADR Motorsport.
 

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1 M.HIGGINS-THOMAS Ford Focus WRC 1h55'35"8
2 BIRD-WINDRESS Ford Focus WRC at 1'37"1
3 A.MCHALE-MURPHY Ford Focus WRC at 2'12"9
4 G.MCHALE-NAGLE Toyota Corolla WRC at 3'21"5
5 LING-ALLSOP Hyundai Accent WRC at 3'50"6

6 LAUKKANEN-KAAPRO Subaru Impreza (N) at 4'17"4

7 HIGGINS-BARRITT Mitsubishi Lancer (N) at 4'58"3

8 MILNER-BEECH Toyota Corolla WRC at 6'06"2
9 PETCH-WILLIAMSON Subaru Impreza (N) at 9'13"1
10 SMITH-ROBSON Subaru Impreza (N) at 10'01"9
looks like Tapio won the second day .....

Carlos
 
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