National sports writer and expectant father Tom Cary faces part one of his international rally quest with the Castrol / ProSpeed team when he competes in the challenging Rally of Scotland this weekend.

Cary, who will be co-driving in his fifth ever rally alongside motor sport pundit Tony Jardine, faces a real baptism of fire.

The Daily Telegraph's F1 journalist has only competed in short national events so far, and it hasn't been plain sailing in his fight to become a fully-fledged international rally co-driver.

A sheered brake disc, debilitating car sickness, a near miss with a cow and then crawling home with a broken drive shaft have characterised Cary's last five training events and the Rally of Scotland is sure to be even tougher, as Jardine is only too aware.

"You are going high into the hills, and early morning or late at night there is sure to be mist, fog and even some ice," Jardine explained.

"You have to be prepared that conditions can change all the way through a stage, deep mud one minute then solid sections which is why Kumho have selected a great variety of tyres for us to use. This is one heck of a test for Tom in his first ever international event."

The Castrol / ProSpeed team competed with Motor Sport Magazine editor Damien Smith a month ago on the Colin McRae Stages, which take in some of the special stages to be used on the Rally of Scotland in the hope of Jardine learning some of their traits, but sadly the team crashed badly into the rocks.

Cary, whose wife Sarah is expecting their first child in early December, is well aware of the dangers of this event but still feels confident.

"We have had so many things go against us in the last few rallies that I think we will get it right on the big one," he continued. "We will spend two days on a recce of the stages amending our pace notes, but you can't do anything about fog and mist except try and grope through as best you can!

"The biggest issue the team face is if Cary junior decides to arrive early! Then I just have to get back to London as soon as possible and unfortunately it will be rally over. Hopefully all will stay calm and Tony and I will need maximum concentration to be on top of our game for this fantastic event."

The ProSpeed team, joined on-event by Andy Beale who works for McLaren in his day job, are working flat out to prepare the Castrol Fiesta after Jardine inflicted more damage on the recent Tempest Rally.

"We've done a complete gearbox rebuilt as well as stripping and rebuilding the suspension since the last event," added ProSpeed team boss, Olly Marshall. "The Scottish stages are going to be tough on the Fiesta, but I'm certain that the crew are up for the challenge."

The three-day event is one step further towards Cary's ultimate goal of competing with Jardine in the snow of Rally Sweden, the opening round of the 2010 FIA World Rally Championship.



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