Alister McRae, the youngest member of Britain's foremost rally family, is returning to the forefront of the World Rally Championship after signing to drive for the Jardine Lloyd Thompson [JLT] Rally Team.

Following the deal, the Scot will contest this year's six-round FIA World Championship of Production Cars, the official feeder category of the World Rally Championship, in a Subaru Impreza backed by JLT. JLT is Europe's largest quoted insurance and reinsurance broker.

Following the decision of Alister's brother, 1995 World Champion Colin, not to contest this year's World Rally Championship, the Scot will be the only member of the family represented in this year's championship.

"What JLT is doing for me, and has done for Niall McShea, who is also competing in the FIA World Championship of Production Cars, is incredible," says McRae. "Traditionally British drivers have struggled to raise the finance to compete at the highest levels, but JLT has helped me overcome this hurdle.

"By making a success of this sponsorship I am sure we can not just help my progress in rallying, but also prove to other potential corporate sponsors that there is significant value in supporting British driving talent. If other companies can be persuaded to follow JLT's lead then there is far more chance of drivers coming through to follow in the footsteps of Colin and Richard Burns."

Alister's JLT Rally Team car will be prepared by Widnes-based preparations experts Rally Engineering Developments [R-E-D], which won its class on two rounds of last year's World Rally Championship. He will be co-driven on events by long-time partner David Senior.

The company has also previously supported Ulsterman Niall McShea's career in the Junior and Production World Championships for the past three years. This year the Ulsterman will line up against McRae at the wheel of a factory-backed Subaru Impreza in the FIA World Championship of Production Cars.