David Higgins' Chinese Rally Championship plans have been dealt a worrying blow after he has been unable to fly to China recently for essential tests.

Like thousands of Britons, Higgins' travel plans were ruined due to the ash cloud from the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallaj?kull closing UK air space.

"Not being able to get out to China this week is a disaster for us," he said, "The whole point of me flying out there was to do crucial tyre testing work. The testing was going to form the basis of figuring out which tyres the team would use for the rest of the season, so this could have a huge impact on our championship year.

"Our engineers and representatives from the tyre company were all sat in China awaiting our arrival. Chinese air space was not effected by the volcano, so they had hoped I would get a flight out if the ash cloud changed direction, and remained on standby to work for me right up until the last minute my flight cancellation was confirmed."

Higgins had been due to spend three days in China but, after his flight was cancelled, he was unable to get another set of flights which would have taken him to the country before he is due to fly out there for the next championship event, the Jiangning Rally.

"Myself and my co-driver Ieuan Thomas will fly out to China for the rally on 9 May," he explained, "And the next flight I could have got on was that day anyway. As it stands, we will have to try to squeeze in a test when we arrive in the country - but, even if we manage to do that, there may not be enough of the tyre we choose available for us to use them throughout the event. This could literally make the difference between us winning and losing the teams title again for the WY Rally Team."