It's been announced that the Border Counties Rally will host the first round of the British Rally Championship.
The Jedburgh-based event is already a firm favourite on the calendar of the Scottish Rally Championship, but after the cancellation of the Mid Wales Stages, organisers have decided to use the Borders event as the season opener for the elite British series.
Organisers of BRC are disappointed by Newtown & District Motor Club’s decision to cancel the Mid Wales Stages, open… https://t.co/ZtijTNltld
It's expected that the event will bring a welcomed boost to the region's economy, with thousands of spectators expected over the weekend of 18th March.
A strong contingent of local rally drivers will be among the favourites to win the event. These include reigning Scottish Champion and Castle Douglas driver Jock Armstrong, Duns driver Garry Pearson and 2011 British Rally Champion David Bogie from Dumfries.
Staff at M-Sport's rally headquarters in Cockermouth have been celebrating, after it was announced the team has signed four times World Rally Champion Sebastien Ogier.
Team boss Malcolm Wilson sealed the deal after the Frenchman spent time testing their new car - and he's confident they'll be the team to beat next year.
In his first television interview since the announcement, Malcolm Wilson told our reporter Lori Carnochan just what it means for the team:
Pictures courtesy of M-Sport, Tom Cave and Red Bull/WRC.
Cumbrian rallying giants M-Sport are celebrating today after signing four-times World Rally Champion Sebastien Ogier.
The Frenchman signed for the Cockermouth-based team after testing their new Ford Fiesta last month.
In his first television interview since the announcement, Managing Director Malcolm Wilson told our reporter Lori Carnochan that he believes the team will be the ones to beat in 2017:
The 2017 Jim Clark Rally is within weeks of being cancelled, according to a Borders MSP.
John Lamont raised concerns about the future of the event in the Scottish Parliament this afternoon.
It was announced last week that a Fatal Accident Inquiry will take place into the deaths of three people at the rally in 2014.
The rally generates millions of pounds for the local economy and attracts thousands of spectators every year.
Below is the exchange between John Lamont and the Health and Sport Secretary Shona Robison:
"The Snowman Rally, which is also subject to the FAI, has been allowed to continue and it seems unfair that the Jim Clark Rally has been postponed for so long.
“I urged the Crown Office to work closely with Police Scotland and Scottish Borders Council to try to allow the 2017 event to take place.”
Castle Douglas driver Jock Armstrong has won his second Scottish Rally Championship, after winning his home rally on Saturday.
He had been in a tight battle with Duns driver Garry Pearson all year, but mechanical failure ended his title hopes.
Lori Carnochan has been catching up with the champion.
The final round of the Scottish Rally Championship takes place in stages around Castle Douglas on Saturday, with two local drivers hoping to be crowned champion.
Jock Armstrong from Castle Douglas won the championship in 2015, but he's being chased down by Duns driver Garry Pearson.
Lori Carnochan reports:
Elfyn Evans and co-driver Craig Parry won the Scottish Rally and round four of the British Rally Championship (BRC) in Dumfries on Saturday.
Local driver David Bogie held a solid second overall until damage to his car forced him to retire on the final stage.
Tom Cave made a last stage push to finish second with Irishman Desi Henry taking his first BRC podium.
This win is what we wanted as we have had a lot of bad luck on the last few rounds and we wanted to get on back track in Scotland. I am really happy that we managed to do it and we can go to the next round pretty happy and with confidence as well. It is a shame Fredrik Ahlin and David Bogie retired the way they did, but fortunately luck has gone our way this time and I look forward to the battle resuming on the Nicky Grist Stages in two weeks time.
The British Rally Championship makes a welcome return to the region this weekend.
More than 120 competitors are taking part in the Pirelli Rally which starts tomorrow.
The best drivers from the UK and further afield will compete in stages across the Kielder Forest complex.
Lori Carnochan reports.
Thousands of spectators have turned out for the annual Malcolm Wilson Rally.
The Cockermouth based event teamed up with a social media campaign to promote Cumbria following the recent floods.
The event was won by Charles Payne with David Wright in second, and Wayne Sisson in third.
Lori Carnochan was there:
Thousands of people have turned out to spectate at this year's Malcolm Wilson Rally.
The event, which is based in Cockermouth, is now in its 41st year and has attracted competitors from all over the UK.
More than 100 rally crews are currently out in the forests around Grizedale and Greystoke, battling it out over 43 stage miles.
Event sponsors Msport have teamed up with social media campaign #NotJustLakes in a bid to encourage more people to visit Cumbria after the recent floods.
"We're thrilled that we have this partnership with MSport and it's been great to see our hashtag on every single car. We want to shout loud that Cumbria is open for business.
"So many businesses were affected by the flooding and a lot of people have cancelled their holidays. We want to show people that the county is up and running and we're holding fantastic events like this one today."
Competitors have come from as far away as Ireland to take part in the event. Connor McCloskey was fastest through the opening stage but had a spin in stage two and ended up with a car full of water- ending his rally.
It's a great event and i love the stages over here. Their not short like the ones back home, they're long and you can really get stuck into them. Unfortunately our day hasn't gone to plan but it could be worse- we could have crashed."
The last car is due to finish just after 2.30pm at The Hired Lad in Penrith.