2002 American Pro Rally Champion and British Production Cup Rally Champion David Higgins will contest the Rally of Great Britain this week, driving a Subaru Impreza World Rally Car on the World Championship round for the first time.

Llanwnog (Powys) based Higgins will be driving for the Barretts of Kent Rally Team, with whom he and co-driver Daniel Barritt (Burnley) won the Production Cup Category of the British Rally Championship this season.

After finishing 11th overall and first in Group N on last years Rally Great Britain, Higgins is hopeful that he can build on his experience of the stages as he steps up to the altogether different prospect of a World Rally Car.

The Subaru Impreza WRC is a big step up from the more standard production based Group N cars, but after Team Principle Paul Barrett sealed an eleventh hour deal to run the car on the rally, Higgins and Barritt will be going all out to mix it with the current crop of stars on the World stage.

Speaking ahead of the Cardiff based event that runs from November 14-17th in the forests of South Wales, Manx born Higgins was confident that the car will be competitive enough to make an impression on the leaderboard.

"Its the first time I have driven a Subaru World Rally car on a round of the World Championship, and although the car is not absolutely state of the art - it is still a highly competitive package," noted Higgins. "The conditions in the South Wales forests tend to be extremely muddy at this time of the year, so that can be a great leveller in terms of machinery. I have driven WR cars before so I'm really looking forward to the challenge as the car is in fantastic condition.

"Daniel and myself have enjoyed an incredibly successful season both in the UK and the USA, so this outing is really the icing on the cake for us. Our aim is to be as competitive as possible, and we're hoping to be the first non works team on the leaderboard by the rally finish. I hope that we'll be able to battle for a top ten position with the factory drivers, but I'm delighted that Barretts and our sponsors, Pirelli, Steel River and Alpinestars have given us the opportunity to mix it with the worlds best this weekend."

Higgins will celebrate his 30th birthday on the start of the rally, and as Team Boss Paul Barrett explains, the Barretts of Kent outfit are delighted to finally run a WR car for Higgins and Barritt.

"We've made no secret of the fact that we wanted to give David the opportunity to show his undoubted ability in a WR car this season," commented Barrett. "We'd tried to put a deal together for a British Rally Championship round but that didn't happen. Of course we're absolutely delighted to give David a special "present" for this event. David's track record on the rally is excellent, and he has been the man to beat in a Group N car in recent years. Although he will have little time to test the car, he is very adaptable and I'm sure he'll be up to speed very quickly.

"From the Barrett's of Kent viewpoint, we are very happy to run a WR car to build on our successful association with the Group N category and Subaru. I'm know that David and Daniel will be giving their all to be knocking on the door of the top ten. Knowing David, I'm equally sure that he will want to be snapping at the heels of his brother Mark in his Ford Focus WRC along the way! However, I hope that the team can achieve a good result in South Wales, as the package we have put together is the very strongest our budget would allow."

Barrett's will run the Impreza WRC99 with the technical assistance and support of Ken Skidmore and www.worldrallyhire.com who are supplying the car for the event.