Ross Forde and Gary McElhinney will contest the famous Rally Isle of Man this week, back in action for the opening tarmac round of the UK Fiesta SportTrophy in their Irish Sports Council and Motorsport Ireland-backed Ford Fiesta ST.

The Irish crew head into the rally following four runs across a more unfamiliar gravel surface. Despite that though, they are positioned strongly in sixth place in the FST UK standings with only three points separating the top five positions.

This is not Fordes first time to the Isle of Man and after causing a stir in 2008 with his impressive pace, he will be one to watch this year down the narrow lanes of Newtown and Ramsey.

Co-driver Gary McElhinney has never navigated across the Island stages before but insists he is not going to be fazed by the unknown territory and he is up for the challenge and looking forward to a good result.

"We're going to be going for it 100 per cent and look for that first victory," the 25-year-old said. "This is our first time this year on tarmac and we are really fired up for this one.

"I really enjoy the narrow bumpy stages of the Isle of Man and I know it well so we hopefully should go well.

"The championship is still open and it's going to be interesting what happens on the two tarmac rounds that are up next."

The pair will start at number 62 and seeded third in the FST category in their M-Sport and Galway Mini Centre-prepared Fiesta ST.

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