by Geoff Mayes

Welshman Andrew Hockridge will contest the Bulldog Rally this coming weekend, the final round of the 2008 MSA Pirelli Gravel Rally Championship, as part of his pre-Wales Rally GB prep.

Hockridge, who is the current Citroen C2R2 Cup series leader, wants to gain more gravel experience in his Gino's Pizza Cheese supported, Geoff Jones Motorsport-run Citroen ahead of the final round of the 2008 Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship.

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The GRH Foods-backed man has been the revelation of 2008 with a string of podium positions, but has only ever driven the car on three gravel rallies, and so far has finished on the class podium every time.

But despite that he realises that, after campaigning a four-wheel drive Subaru for the last couple of seasons, he needs as much time as possible in the car in order to maintain his current pace.

"The Bulldog Rally works out really well for me as it is not only my 'home' event but it is also going to be the opening round of next years BRC," said Hockridge. "I went to the Plains Rally recently as a spectator, which uses the same forests, and so now I'm looking forward to driving those great stages."

Hockridge and co-driver Rich Mills are seeded as the second two-wheel drive car on this, the 50th anniversary for the Bulldog Rally. The rally gets started from Oswestry, with the first car leaving the ceremonial start at 8am. Six typical Mid Wales stages await the crews, with tests through such famous forests as Dyfnant, Dyfi and Llangywer, before they return to Oswestry at around 4pm for the ceremonial finish [all time local].