A RACING driver from Cumbria will be the first woman to compete in an all-electric rally cross competition.

Natalie Barratt, 45 of Cockermouth will compete in a state of the art electric rally cross car on live television in a behind closed doors event.

The event takes place at Holjes in Sweden from Saturday August 22 and features huge names in the racing world like Swedish native Ken Block. Natalie said: “He's very famous in the world of drifting. There's one advantage, I've driven the car before and Ken hasn't. It’s exciting stuff.”

Natalie will line up on the grid for her big moment in a Stard built Ford Fiesta for the Rally Technology Team in the Project E race series and she admitted that there are some nerves involved. The new electric rally cross car is faster off the line than a Formula 1 vehicle, accelerating to 60 miles per hour in around 1.3 seconds.

To add to the excitement, Natalie will be a part of the sport’s history.

She said: “It is a historic moment. It will be the first rally cross race that is fully electric. The car has only had a run out in rally events with petrol cars so far.”

This time each driver will have the same technology so it will be all down to how Natalie performs.

"It will be a level playing field."

Natalie is proud to take part in the more environmentally friendly form of competition and she hopes it will promote electric cars.

"Climate change is getting worse."

She added that the vehicles are efficient as well as environmentally friendly: "It'll be very quiet. The more we can get electric cars out there the more charging there will be. I've got two children, 11 and nine. I don't believe they will ever drive a petrol car."

Natalie is an experienced driver, particularly in single make races, she started rallying in 1996 and was competing in world championships by 1999. It will be a return to racing for Natalie when she takes part in the FIA World Rally Cross races. She stepped away from the sport when she suffered an injury in 2007, a bump in the road dislodged a disc in her back. During her time off, she found a new priority in starting a family.

"If I went back to rallying I probably would give it 100 per cent."

Races will be streamed live on YouTube from Saturday and the live final will be broadcast on BT Sport the following day.