The vital Greenerways Rally project, designed to assess the impact of a future gravel rally 'Eco Tyre' now looks set to be as entertaining as it is enlightening.

The Forestry Commission and MSA will be on hand to observe the damage inflicted by the equivalent of a whole rally using the tyre, but they will also be treated to a battle between some of the country's top drivers, as well as handful of clubmen who are there to have a punt for the silverware on offer.

Mark Higgins tops the entries, with TEG Sport boss Lynn Newby dusting off her co-drivers overalls for the event. The battle royal joined between Higgins and Greenerways number two seed, Irishmen Keith Cronin and Greg Shinnors, in the British Rally Championship may not be at stake here, but you can bet that they will still be checking their stage times at every opportunity, eager to seek an advantage.

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David Bogie and Kevin Rae will also make the change back to gravel mid-way through their BRC campaign, currently between asphalt events. But the youngster is joining battle away from two regular series, currently trailing Jock Armstrong by just three points in the Scottish Rally Championship after closing the gap with victory on the Jim Clark Reivers Rally.

With Armstrong at car four, he and Bogie will have their own battle to play out ahead of the next SRC rally at the end of June. But it will be interesting to match the top drivers from the BRC and SRC on this one-off event. There will be a battle of the co-drivers between TEG Sport team cars too, as Newby's husband and team engineer Stuart will co-drive for Armstrong.

The third scot in the line-up, Aberdonian Dave Weston Jnr, looks like taking the event seriously. The BRC newcomer is sticking with co-driver Aled Davies and no doubt hoping that the brief switch back to gravel will be a green light to post a podium place.

Like TEG Sport, the BRC's Revolution Wheels Rally Team will field two cars, with Geoff Jones, having had a taste of the BRC on the Jim Clark, being co-driven by team boss Warren McKiernan. Neither is new to rallying, in fact Jones has more experience than most, but McKiernan's experience of making pace-notes may put him at a disadvantage to the second Revolution crew.

Rob Swann and Darren Garrod will put their experience from several years in the British Rally Championship to good use on the 5.37-mile stage. With just two passes to make an accurate set of 'notes, accuracy will be the key, so the long term partnership should pay dividends.

Another crew used to each other and currently lying fourth in the Mitsubishi Evo Challenge, are Irishman Owen Murphy and Welsh co-driver Dai Roberts. The third Lancer in a field dominated by Subarus, Owen will hope that the reputed power advantage of the Evo will be sufficient to move him up the order on this sprint event.

Welsh co-drivers are obviously in vogue, since Chris Davies has secured a seat in the noisiest car in the field. Peter Stephenson's last outing in Kielder was as part of the British Rally Championship where he finished a creditable 15th overall on the Pirelli International Rally in April.

Simon Bowen and Richard Robinson are true clubmen, convinced that their first gravel event will be one to remember. The car was only built in readiness for February, but Bowen has already contested several local club events, recently moving further afield for the Jim Clark Reivers Rally.

Another Clubman Jim McNeil is joined by the second female co-driver on the event, Kim Baker. Having scored a ninth place overall on March's Riponian Rally, Jim's move up from a Nova last year has proved successful, the in-car partnership with Baker carried forwards for this unusual event.

Finally British Rally Championship media man Simon Moss is joined by BRC regular Emma Morrison. The pair have contested a couple of events in the eBay Impreza, but Moss joins Bowen as a gravel first-timer, hoping his steadfast co-driver will impart some confidence.

The event format of a single repeated loop is designed to simulate an entire rally competing on the 'Eco Tyre' and, as such, the drivers will have plenty of opportunities to hone their lines through the corners. But the true test will be whether the narrow pattern tyres make a difference to the wear and tear on the surface on what will be an interesting - and likely entertaining - event.