Taking on the best in the world is the target for newly crowned Scottish rally champions Euan Thorburn and Paul Beaton.
The duo held off the challenge of five-times champion David Bogie in Perth recently to win the title for the first time and they are now eyeing up competition on the global stage by competing in next week’s Wales Rally GB (November 13-16).
Competing in Wales Rally GB is something the duo have experienced already after winning in the national section last year.
But this time they are up against the world’s best - the likes of new WRC champion Sebastian Ogier, Jar-Matti Latvala, Mikko Hirvonen, Dani Spordo, Kris Meeke etc - and they will be doing it in a brand new car having swapped their ex-Carlos Sainz Ford Focus WRC for a Ford Fiesta S2000.
Euan was in Finland at the weekend on the recommendation of M-Sport to look at a new car and returned home with the vehicle on Sunday.
“We have been on the lookout for a new car,” explained Euan. “M-Sport recommended this one in Finland as they knew its history. It’s a Ford Fiesta S2000 and it’s a good clean car. It was driven by a young Finnish driver in the WRC2 when it was new and has been used by another Finnish driver in national events over there.”
Paul Benn will be looking after the car for Euan, with help and advice from M-Sport, and they will have it in tip top shape for the forthcoming Rally GB. Euan added: “I will need to get used to a totally different way of driving, it’s so different from the Focus. We will be testing over at M-Sport on Thursday (today) so we will see then how it goes.
“In Rally GB we will be competing against the best drivers in the world. There will be no pressure on us so we will just go out and see how well we can do.”
Euan will be partnered as usual by Inverness co-driver Paul Beaton. Paul said: “There’s no doubt in my mind that we can compete at that level. It just comes down to funding. It’s only that stopping us from going to the next level. It’s just a case of pulling it all together now.”
Euan and Paul will see how things go on Rally GB before finalising their competition plans for 2015. “We will wait and see how it goes in Wales before deciding about next year,” explained Euan.
“We would like to do some of the European Championship rounds but we will see how the car goes next weekend and take it from there.”