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TV Exclusive: Wilson says M-Sport will be team to beat

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:

Borders MSP warns Jim Clark Rally within weeks of being cancelled

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.”

– John Lamont MSP, Ettrick Roxburgh and Berwickshire, Cons

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Welshman wins Scottish rally in Dumfries

The Scottish Rally in Dumfries Credit: ITV Border

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.

– Elfyn Evans

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Thousands turn out for Malcolm Wilson Rally

Credit: ITV Border

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.

Credit: ITV Border
Credit: ITV Border

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."

– Beth Pipe, NotJustLakes
Credit: ITV Border

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.

Credit: ITV Border

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."

– Connor McCloskey, Rally driver

The last car is due to finish just after 2.30pm at The Hired Lad in Penrith.

Rally drivers set for British championship opener

Credit: David Bogie Rallying

Two former Scottish Rally Champions will be looking for success in Wales this weekend as they take on the opening round of the British Rally Championship.

Dumfries driver David Bogie won the series in 2011, and the five times Scottish champion is one of the hot favourites to win the Mid-Wales stages rally.

He is contesting all seven rounds of the BRC in his new Skoda Fabia. He'll start from number three position when the rally gets underway on Saturday night from Newtown.

"There's no doubt about it that this year's British Championship is going to be tough. There are some seriously quick drivers in the championship.

"My new car feels good and we're really looking forward to getting out on the stages. Competition is good, so we know we'll be pushing hard all weekend."

– David Bogie

Seeded three places behind David will be Duns driver and former Scottish champion Euan Thorburn. He also has a new car for this season, choosing to compete in a Peugeot 208.

The British Championship is returning having had a year out in 2015. The revitalised series has attracted some of the fastest young talent in the world, with entries coming in from across Europe and Australia.

Credit: Euan Thorburn Rallying

Two of the seven rounds will take place in the Border region. The Pirelli rally will be based in Carlisle from 30th April until 1st May. The Scottish rally will take place on June 25th and will be centred around Dumfries.

For more information on the British Rally Championship, click here.

WATCH: British Rally Championship launch

If you're a motor sport fan then you'll be pleased to hear that next year the British Rally Championship are hosting three of their seven events in our region

The Pirelli Rally, based in Carlisle will take place in April.

The following month, drivers will get to grips with tarmac as they take on the Jim Clark Rally in the Borders. And finally in June they'll head to Dumfries for the classic stages of the the Scottish Rally.

Three British Rally Championship events are to be held in our region Credit: ITV Border

Local economies are also expected to benefit by millions of pounds.

Lori Carnochan has been along to the championship launch at Greystoke near Penrith.

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