The Carlisle Stages Rally gets under way tonight with 130 cars set to do battle over two tough stages.

The Kielder complex hosts the British Historic Rally Championship and the Scottish Rally Championship, with racing tonight and tomorrow.

Among those competing in some 54 miles of rallying will be Tony Jardine and ex M-Sport WRC co-ordinator Iain Tullie, who will be the only bio-fuelled entry competing.

The event signals the start of a full Coryton SUSTAIN Classic bio-fuelled programme for Jardine, following a successful test on the Trackrod Rally last month.

The Jardine team is seeking valuable practice in the daunting Kielder Forest by night and day on the Carlisle Stages, just like WRC star Kris Meeke, as this is the last chance to shakedown before the Roger Albert Clark Rally returns to Kielder in November.

Following a third in class finish at the Trackrod Rally Yorkshire, the Carlisle Stages Rally – acting as the 2023 Fuchs British Historic Rally Championship finale – serves as Jardine’s final preparation event in the team’s historic 1973 Chrysler Avenger ahead of their biggest challenge next month at the five-day Roger Albert Clark Rally.

News and Star: Tony Jardine will be racing at the Carlisle Stages RallyTony Jardine will be racing at the Carlisle Stages Rally (Image: Jakob Ebrey Photography / Will Broadhead Photography)

Jardine said: “The test run on the Trackrod with SUSTAIN Classic fuel was incredible, not just because of the smooth-running engine, with maximum power without any adjustments to the engine whatsoever, but also because we had better fuel consumption.

“I’m so glad David Richardson of Coryton has given us the green light for the full programme starting with SUSTAIN Classic at the Carlisle Rally Stages – this event being another first for Coryton since the launch of SUSTAIN Classic just four months ago.

“The chance to run in the challenging Kielder Forest before we return there on the RAC in November is an opportunity not to be missed.

“Kielder is not to be messed with, Europe’s largest man-made forest still holds fast to its reputation of being the biggest graveyard for rally cars – especially in the dark!” 

PB Engineering, under the direction of ex M-Sport engineer Phil Bradshaw, has been preparing the historic Chrysler Avenger for the Carlisle Stages Rally, which starts tonight with two opening stages covering ten miles before an overnight halt.

After another gruelling 45 miles on Saturday, the event will finish at Kielder Castle.

For more details on the Carlisle Stages Rally, click HERE