Champions take a back seat for Merrick Stages

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The overall Scottish title has been decided for another year, but there is still plenty at stake on Saturday’s ProTune Remapping Merrick Stages – the penultimate round of the MSA Scottish Rally Championship.

With champions David Bogie and Hawick co-driver Kevin Rae sitting out the Wigtown-based event as they prepare for the Trackrod Rally Yorkshire in their quest to add the British title to their three Scottish crowns, all eyes this weekend will be on the fight for the runners-up spot in the SRC.

Top seeds Mike Faulkner from Lockerbie and Euan Thorburn from Duns, who are equal in the points, will lock horns again after a closely-fought encounter on the Speyside earlier this month when they set the same times on four of the stages.

Berwickshire co-driver Claire Mole is seeded third for the Merrick Stages alongside Lanark star Robbie Head, who is still seeking his first podium finish in his Evo 9 since returning to regular competition at the start of the season.

Mike Horne and Robbie Mitchell from Duns are one of a number of Ford Escort Mk2 crews taking to the Galloway forest stages this weekend.

Hawick’s Louise Sutherland will be first on the road alongside Steve Bannister in his historic Mk2 – the pair tipped to take top two-wheel drive honours.

And following their class win in Elgin, the Melrose father and son team of Sean and Iain Robson will be back in action in their Peugeot 205 Gti.

Hawick’s Ian Baumgart, co-driven by the experienced Dave Robson from Jedburgh, is entered in his Subaru Impreza, while Gareth White (St Boswells) and Mike Dickson (Galashiels) will be going flat-out for another class win in the Citroen C2 R2.

Maxton’s Craig Smith, co-driven by Jack Morton from Stanley, are entered in their Vauxhall Nova while Earlston’s Nick Thorne and co-driver Scott Hunter from St Boswells are competing again in their Peugeot 205 GTi.

Full details can be found at www.merrickstages.co.uk