TO HEAR THE INTERVIEW IN FULL WITH MARK HIGGINS: CLICK HERE

Triple British Rally champion Mark Higgins will be especially keen to see Daniel Craig's second outing as James Bond this week, as he was involved with the movie as one of a number of expert stunt drivers. Crash.net Radio's Rob Wilkins caught up with the Atlas TEG Sport Rally Team man recently to get the lowdown on his role in a 'Quantum of Solace' - and of course we chatted about the 2008 Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship too...

Crash.net:
Mark, just one round of the BRC is left now, but before we talk about that, let's us stray off subject slightly. I want to start by asking you about the new James Bond film - 'Quantum of Solace'. You did some stunt driving on it. Can you give us any hints about what we should expect?

Mark Higgins:
I don't really know a lot. We were out in Italy for nearly two months in total doing the filming work and I am not sure what they cut and what they used. But I have heard, somebody viewed it yesterday [Sunday], and it is meant to be really good. We are in the opening scene, which is the car chase at the start. But by all accounts I think it is a great film. I am looking forward to seeing it and I will be quite boring to watch it with as I will keep pointing out: 'That's me! That's me!' [laughs]

Crash.net:
How privileged did you feel to be apart of that?

MH:
It is brilliant. Of all the things to be involved with Bond is obviously top of the list. We really enjoyed it and I learned a great deal being out there with the crew. It was a great experience and something I would like to do more of.

Crash.net:
Were there a lot of stunt drivers' involved?

MH:
Not a massive amount of stunt drivers' but there was plenty of people there. The crew was massive as you can imagine. The location was great and the whole thing was just really interesting to see how it is done. I can't wait to see the film now and see how it has all been put together.

Crash.net:
Do you get to attend the premiere?

MH:
Not the big premiere, no. We have our own separate premiere, which was yesterday [Sunday]. But unfortunately I was away rallying in Germany and so I couldn't actually make it. But we are division two - I think that is what we are called - and we are not actually in with the big stars.

Crash.net:
Have you got anything else like that line-up up in the future?

MH:
Not at the moment. There are some opportunities and something came up recently, but I couldn't make it. Once you commit to it, it is a lot of time that you have to have away. It is however, something I would definitely like to do again in the future.

Crash.net:
Turning to the BRC now, as we said at the start, there is just one event left and that is the season ending Wales Rally GB. How confident are you feeling ahead of that event?

MH:
Good. I am happy with the car. It is a very tough event. We have obviously got two points' scoring opportunities on it with Friday and then Saturday and Sunday added together. Friday is going to be a big day and there is very little service time during the leg. We are back into mid-Wales again too and I really do enjoy those stages. They should suit the car well. But it could be a total lottery with the weather. We could have ice, snow - anything at this time of year, especially now we are moving further north from where it has been for the last seven or eight years. It is going to be really interesting and very difficult. It will be important to get in a good run on that first day.

Crash.net:
Are you happy to see the route changed?

MH:
Definitely, it had got a bit stale for me. It had become more like a race track because I think every driver who had done it over the last few years knew it very, very well. It is great then to move into mid-Wales and I think the stages are going to be a lot more technical. Hafren is a classic and one of the best stages around. I am looking forward to getting into there and being in the dark as well [on the repeat run] should be very challenging.

Crash.net:
Of course the picture in the BRC is somewhat complicated as the result of the last round, the Rally Yorkshire, is still provisional. Can you tell us anything about that?

MH:
No, we don't know anymore. It is still up in the air and we might not even know going into Rally GB. From a personal point of view, whoever really wins GB is going to be the fair winner of it - regardless of what happens with the stewards meetings that are going on at the moment. We have just got to do our best and if I get a win it means everything is immaterial of what has gone on with the Trackrod anyway. That is my goal, just to do the best on that rally.

Crash.net:
The BRC seems to have been dogged a lot by politics this season. Has that harmed the championship do you think?

MH:
I don't think it is ever good. But rules are rules. We had to abide by them with regard to what happened in Ulster and we lost points in the teams' cup [with what happened with Phillip Morrow]. It has got quite bitter unfortunately. But hopefully it can all be put behind us and we can just get down to driving and doing the job on Rally GB.

Crash.net:
Your brother David is going to be one of your main competitors for the title on the Rally GB. You are obviously both use to competing against each other, but is it tougher fighting against him than your other rivals?

MH:
Yeah, within families it is always a bit more difficult. Previously we have been in different categories of cars and going to GB there is probably three of us in the fight. Obviously Guy [Wilks], who is usually very strong there and David and myself. Anything can happen. It is a long event. If you have a big problem on the first day you are out of the next day as well. It is going to be very difficult to know how to play it. Yes, it would be great to go and try and race the P-WRC boys. But we don't have to and we have to be very serious and think about the BRC.

Crash.net:
You competed in a rally in Germany last weekend with the MG S2000. How did the ADAC-3-Stadte-Rally go?

MH:
It was a good event for us. We have just been trying to put some miles on the car for reliability and the last few rallies have been great. We had a slight problem at the end but it was nothing really to worry about. It was a different rally and totally different conditions to what I have driven in before. The roads were really nice and it was great. It was good for the development of the car and we were happy to do some more miles.

Crash.net:
You used the MG S2000 on the opening round in the BRC, is that something you are looking at maybe for the future?

MH:
I have enjoyed driving the S2000 this year. We have used it quite a lot. We did Ypres and we did the Bulldog and the Plains Rally too with it [in addition to the Pirelli]. We have had quite a good programme in the car and Super 2000 is definitely the way forward. It is unfortunate that it is a little bit expensive at the moment. But they are very enjoyable to drive. I think it would have been great if the WRC move had been to put a 2.5 litre normally aspirated engines in them - that would make them really fantastic.

Crash.net:
Can you reveal anything about your plans for 2009?

MH:
No, we are talking to a few people and obviously the economic climate at the moment is not helping. The first thing to go is motorsport generally when it is getting as tight as it is. But we have a few irons in the fire. I am working hard to make sure I am still out competing at a good level and doing a good championship.

Crash.net:
Can you give us any hints? BRC? IRC? WRC?

MH:
I'd like to do the IRC definitely - and if the package is right the BRC again too. We have got to concentrate on 2008 first though and if it did go well this year, it would be great to try and go for a fifth crown and match Jimmy [McRae]. But that is not the reason we are doing it. We want to be out there and competing. It is just great having good competition and that is obviously going to be very important for the BRC to see who is actually doing it in 2009 - especially if Guy is out doing his World Rally Championship programme.

TO HEAR THE INTERVIEW IN FULL WITH MARK HIGGINS: CLICK HERE

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