DANIEL Barritt and David Higgins will contest the 2005 British Rally Championship after clinching a deal with Japanese manufacturer Mitsubishi.

Barritt, from Hapton and his Welsh-based driver will compete in all eight rounds of the series, driving a Group N Mitsubishi Evo8, with support from Mitsubishi motors UK.

Higgins, the 2004 British Rally Champion will join the team alongside Rory Galligan, the Irishman already confirmed as a works driver following his victory in last year's Evolution Challenge.

Looking to increase its motorsport profile in Britain, Mitsubishi Motors UK announced its plans to run the two-car team at the Autosport Show in January.

At that time the decision as to who would be accompanying Galligan was still to be made.

With the prospect of a busy year ahead, Higgins was unable to confirm his intentions until now and is consequently relishing the prospect of driving for the Mitsubishi UK team:

He said: "It's great to have been offered this drive. I feel very much at home with Mitsubishi having won the USA SCCA Championship in 2003 driving an Evolution, as well as being a test driver with the WRC team for 2004 and 2005."

Mitsubishi's aim is to win the Production British Rally Championship, the series created specifically for Group N cars running within the BRC, although both Higgins and Galligan are expected to feature in the leading overall positions.

"Some people may say that having won the BRC in a WRC car last year, swapping to a Group N car is a retrograde step," added Higgins.

"For us this is not the case. This is a works drive and that makes all the difference. Having tested a number of production Evolutions I know just how good they are. I have enjoyed success driving Group N cars, so to compete in an ultimate spec works version is going to be a great. I think we may surprise a few people with our pace."

The Mitsubishi UK team's season kicks off with the first round of the British Rally Championship, the International Rally of Wales, which takes place on 24th & 25th April.