by Geoff Mayes

Following a small engine fire that halted his Quinton Stages run, 18-year-old Melis Charalambous will return to action on his 'home' event, the Essex Charity Stages this weekend.

Charalambous was re-united with the experienced Marc Crisp on the Llandovery based Quinton Stages on Saturday, an event which the pair contested in a left hand drive Subaru test car as the young Londoner awaits delivery of a new Subaru N12.

Although a minor engine fire on the second stage precluded any significant stage mileage Charalambous was more than happy with his opening stage performance.

"I've been using a right hand drive Subaru all year and have struggled to adapt to the car, so last weekend was an experiment to see how I'd get on in a left hand drive car again," he explained.

"I was really comfortable in the car and happy with my lines. I was a little off the pace as the conditions were very slippery and I was also adapting to organisers notes again.

"The fire was frustrating but I'm just glad that no real damage happened to the car. I'd like to say a massive thanks to the crew of the red Subaru that stopped to give us their fire extinguisher, and also to the ambulance crew who showed me around their 'office' whilst we waited to be re-covered."

Charalambous now shifts his attention to the Essex Charity Stages, an event which geographically, is the closest to his North London home. Charalambous will use the very same 'The Press' backed Skoda Octavia World Rally Car that he last used on the 2007 Wales Rally GB.

Charalambous will prepare for the rally by continuing his ongoing tuition with former Wales Rally GB winner Pentti Airikkala.