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AaronMcClure_inaction_Cambrian16Flookburgh rally driver Aaron McClure headed to the opening round of the BTRDA Rally Series in North Wales last Saturday (13th February) aiming to get his title hopes off to a head start on the Llandudno based Cambrian Rally. But after a promising opening two stages, McClure rolled his All Floors Express – Yokohama backed Mitsubishi E9 into retirement on the third test, causing significant damage and putting the chances of competing on the next round in doubt.

The 21 year old Cumbrian had enjoyed renewed confidence in his class NR4 chances going into 2016 after the winter rebuild of the car and being joined by a new co-driver for the season, American Alex Kihurani. They had high hopes of a strong result in the hotly contested Production category and set off from Llandudno promenade start to tackle the opening 4.6 mile Gwydyr stage.  But a puncture just past the halfway mark cost the duo over 10 seconds and was left languishing outside of the top 20.

The fightback began on the second test, recording an impressive eighth overall stage time which halved their overall position and meant they could regain some lost time on the NR4 leaders.  But it would all end on stage three, when McClure turned in a moment early, catching an unseen bank on the inside of the corner and flipping the car across the stage and out of the rally.

“I’m devastated with how its ended today” said McClure.  “The car felt great, it was performing really well on the Yokohama tyres and Alex was fantastic on the notes. But I just turned in a second too early and we clipped a bank on the inside. It was a slow but really unexpected roll, it took us both by surprise and there simply weren’t enough people around to get us going again. The Cambrian Rally has never been kind to me – we retired last year too. If I didn’t have bad luck, I wouldn’t have any at all”.

McClure now faces a race against time to ready the car ahead of the second round, the Malcolm Wilson Rally in March. “We really need to get the car stripped to assess the damage but it’s not looking good. Whilst it was a fairly slow and gentle roll, every panel is damaged and the costs for getting it back to how it was is going to be substantial” he says.  “The next round is just three weeks away and it’s my home event so I would be gutted to miss it. It’s based in Cockermouth which is just a short drive from home and I have unfinished business there so we will of course do everything we can to get it ready. It’s certainly not the start to my championship that I was looking for.”

McClure is supported by Fuchs Lubricants, IPD Motorsport Services, Camp Road Garage, Carcraft Body Repairs, Darce Tech Racing, Questmead, Arnside Motor Sport and MCR Motorsport Media in 2015.  For more information on Aaron and his rallying career, visit http://www.aaronmcclure.co.uk

Image courtesy of MCR Motorsport Media.

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