Guy Wilks will make his return to the MSA British Rally Championship next weekend to start his defence of the title on the second round of the year.

Wilks saw his plans for 2009 thrown into disarray when Subaru quit the World Rally Championship and Mitsubishi pulled the plug on its BRC programme - removing the two main options available to the 2008 champion for this season.

However, he will now make his return to the series on the Pirelli International at the wheel of a Super 2000 Proton as he seeks to make up for lost time after missing the season opener, which was won by Keith Cronin.

Cronin and Mark Higgins are likely to be the main challengers for victory, alongside Wilks, but there remains a number of drivers who will hope to impress on the Carlisle-based event.

Iceland's Daniel Sigurdarsson takes the place of Stuart Jones in a Team JRM Lico Evolution 10, the 32-year-old former Icelandic Rally Champion and BRC newcomer making the move from his regular Evo 9 for the Cumbrian event.

2008 Pirelli Star Diver Adam Gould and Seb Marshall will benefit from previous experience on the event, as will Andreas Sj?lander and H?kan Jacobsson, both crews expected to go well after impressive UK 4WD debuts in Wales.

Two Scottish Davids; Bogie and Weston Junior, with co-drivers Kevin Rae and Neil Shanks respectively, will battle for Celtic honours against two Northern Irishmen, the four taking fifth to eighth points on round one. The Irishmen in question come in the form of Alastair Fisher and Jonny Greer, former BRC and Irish Champion co-driver Rory Kennedy alongside Fisher, with Antony O'Conaill guiding Greer.

As leaders in the category, Pirelli TEG Sport drivers Higgins and Gould will be watching their backs for improvements in the JRM Lico Team. Sigurdarsson and Bogie have certainly got ground to make up, but speed and consistency are required for the team award.

Unfortunate not to finish the first round, Rob Swann/Darren Garrod and Euan Thorburn/Claire Mole's Revolution Wheels team will be burning some midnight oil to make the start of the rally. Swann's car suffered an electrical failure while Thorburn's introduction to the BRC ended more violently, crashing out on stage three of the Bulldog.

The class wars will continue in Kielder, MSA British Junior Championship leader Tom Walster also top of Rally 3, ahead of a gaggle of Fiesta SportTrophy cars. The one make series is now led by Matt Edwards, opening a gap of five points from Kris Hall in Wales with a BRC Challenge win. Former Finnish Junior Champion Matti Rantanen heads the R3's despite a non finish in Wales, while Steve Graham and Fin McCaul will rejoin their struggle for Diesel Rally Cup supremacy within R3, McCaul retiring with propshaft problems first time out.

Rally 2 is an all Citro?n C2 affair, Jason Pritchard ahead of Marty McCormack and last year's Suzuki Champion Mark Gamble. The leading pair do have an advantage though, as they both have the new Max kits, although all drivers in the C2R2 Cup also qualify for the Citro?n Racing Trophy prize fund, making the battle even more worth fighting for.

Taking over at the head of Rally 1 and the Swift Sport Cup is Australian Molly Taylor, socking it to the men on only her second visit to the UK stages. Luke Pinder is her closest rival, with newcomer Joseph McGonigle third in R1 in a Civic and 2008 Swift Sport Cup runner-up Gordon Nichol third in the BRC's one make series.