Duns driver Euan Thorburn and five-times title-holder David Bogie from Dumfries are set to resume their battle for supremacy on Saturday’s opening round of the 2014 ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship in Inverness.
The pair will line up their Ford Focus WRCs as first and second seeds respectively on the Arnold Clark Thistle Hotel Snowman Rally, which has attracted a strong entry of 114 crews.
Following a successful foray south of the border, Duns-based Thorburn and co-driver Paul Beaton from Inverness ended last season as BTRDA champions. However, their Scottish campaign was dogged by various mechanical issues and problems, and they managed only two wins to Bogie’s four.
Thorburn’s woes continued at the weekend, when he was forced to retire his Focus with engine problems after two stages on the Wyedean Forest Rally in Gloucestershire – while Bogie and Hawick co-driver Kevin Rae went on to win the event by more than a minute.
Duns’ coach and bus hire operator Dale Robertson returns to the Scottish championship with a new Dom Buckley-prepared Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 9. He will again be co-driven by Paul McGuire from Tranent.
Amongst the 2WD entries, Leitholm’s Kieran Renton will have experienced Jedburgh-based navigator Dave Robson alongside as he opens his campaign in the 1600cc category in his Ford Fiesta R2.
Renton led the class during the first half of 2013, before a couple of non-finishes dropped him down to third overall by the end of the season.
Meanwhile, 2012 British Junior Rally Champion Garry Pearson will switch seats to co-drive for fellow Duns competitor Colin ‘Hacker’ Aitchison in a Vauxhall Chevette.
Hacker was a Scottish Championship regular a couple of decades ago and will be hoping to prove he has not lost his touch in the woods.
Another Duns driver is returning to the championship this season. Garry Wilson will contest the series in his newly acquired Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 5 and will be co-driven by his daughter Hollie.
Duns co-driver Richard Simmonds will be on the notes for Kinross driver Blair Brown in his Peugeot 205 GTi.
Full event details can be found at www.snowmanrally.co.uk.
For news of all SRC events, go to www.scottishrallychampionship.co.uk.