James Watkins will switch cars and surfaces when he tackles the forthcoming Bill Gwynne Rallyschool Coracle Stages this weekend at the wheel of a Geoff Jones Motorsport prepared Nissan Micra.

Watkins, who has been competing for just over a year, will be making his gravel rallying debut on the Sweet Lamb-based event and he intends to conduct a short test with Geoff Jones ahead of the event.

His co-driver, Welshpool based Zimbabwean Geoff Mayes, finished third in class on this rally in 2008 and is hoping that his experience of the venue will help ensure a strong finish.

"I have wanted to tackle a gravel event for a while now, but there is so much to learn," said Watkins, who is both excited and nervous ahead of his first run on the loose stuff.

"All of my previous rallies have been at single venue courses and so I am going to have to learn to listen to pace-notes for the first time! Also the car is new to me, and the Micra probably has more horsepower than my Skoda, so that could make things interesting at times!"

Meanwhile Watkins and Mayes have confirmed that they intend to use the rally to raise awareness and money for the Severn Hospice - a self-funded non-government organisation that supports people living with complex and progressive illnesses.

Payments can be made either by cheque - made payable to the Severn Hospice - or by visiting: www.justgiving.com/coraclerally09. Cheques should be posted to: Rally Marketing, Boot Street, Welshpool, SY21 7SA.

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