STOURBRIDGErallyaceRichardSykes is eyeing a podium finish at this weekend’s Pirelli Challenge.

Skyes currently leads the BRC Challenge Championship and is looking to maintain his advantage at the Carlislebased race.

He and co-driver Simon Taylor have already taken a first and second place in the opening two rounds and have done extensive work to their Citroen C2 R2 Max, including a new engine.

Syke said: “The engine was getting near to the end of its life and was down on power.

“We’ve done a full rebuild on it ready for the Pirelli and we’ve also done a lot of work to lighten the car.

“We’re focused on finishing the event on the podium to get a good haul of championship points and I will drive within myself to get there.

“But if we are in a position to safely push for a win we will do. Last time I did the Pirelli Iwas the leading Citroëndriver part way through the event but went off the road trying too hard for the win.”

Sykes and Taylor will lead the Challenge crews away from the rally start at Kielder Castle on Saturday morning, with the crews facing 48 miles of competitive stages in the notoriously tough Kielder forest before the event finishes at Carlisle racecourse.

Sykes added: “I am feeling confident and it is great to be able to concentrate on driving and not worry about the bad reliability we have had in the past.

“We’ve got Simon Hawthorn looking after the car with Martin Billings joining Simon on the events, they are the best guys I have worked with and their work on the car has meant that so far this year we’ve only had to clean it and change the tyres in service.”