There will be distinctly classic look to the National Rally Champions – Class 4 which runs alongside the British Rally Championship, as Stuart McLaren returns to the series in his Historic ex-Opel Sweden Kadett GTE.
McLaren contested the series in 2001 and was attracted back by the calendar switch, longer events, and the opportunity to recce all rallies in the roster.
However, the prospect is not new for the Lincolnshire driver, having been a regular contender in the late nineties, driving a Subaru Impreza in the Production Cup during the famous Kit Car era and finishing fifth in the Subaru Shield.
He also has a passion for Triathlons and spent much of 2022 competing for the RAF Triathlon Team in Ironman Races in Lanzarote, Barcelona, Vichy and Sardinia. But the lure of classic tests on the BRC tour swayed McLaren to return once again.
“I had a ball in the BRC National Cup in 2021 and really enjoyed participating in the Recce and refining our notes in light of prevailing conditions in the stages close to the event taking place” he says.
“For me, fast approaching 62 in April, it was the bucket list rallies that swayed me along with the opportunity to recce on the gravel and asphalt. Ypres is another on the bucket list and I previously navigated there years ago in a Metro 6R4 on Monteberg Rallysprint and more recently in a 911 GT3 also in Belgium. I love the tarmac stages and the enthusiasm. Ulster is another classic I’ve never tackled.
There have been some changes to the Opel since 2021, including a shift to Group4 specification but the goal is still the same.
“What I`m hoping to achieve is to simply have fun on some amazing events and meeting acquaintances old and new. The ‘Dealer OAP Team’ will be out to encourage rally enthusiasts old and young that it’s the ‘taking part smiling` that counts, not just the ‘winning. `