Thorburn and Bogie rev up for rally head-to-head in Elgin

Euan Thorburn from Duns at the CARS Recovery Granite Rally City 2011.'Pic by Stuart Cobley, 078768 18621, www.stuartcobley.com
Euan Thorburn from Duns at the CARS Recovery Granite Rally City 2011.'Pic by Stuart Cobley, 078768 18621, www.stuartcobley.com
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The battle for supremacy in the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship is poised to move up a gear this weekend.

The eight-round series enters the second half of the season in Elgin with more than 100 crews entered for Saturday’s McDonald and Munro Speyside Stages. Top seed Euan Thorburn from Duns is looking for his second consecutive win on the event, and his second in this year’s SRC, alongside Inverness-based co-driver Paul Beaton.

On the previous round, the RSAC Scottish, Thorburn powered his Ford Focus WRC to a 20-second victory over that of defending champion David Bogie.

However, the Dumfries driver maintains the upper hand as he and navigator Kevin Rae from Hawick target an unprecedented fifth straight Scottish title. With two wins, a second and a third so far this year, Bogie currently has an eight-point advantage in the drivers’ standings over second-placed Quintin Milne.

“We need to get back to winning ways in Elgin,” said Bogie, adding: “I’ve had four wins on the Speyside, so it’s an event I enjoy.

“This year though, the 45 miles is split into nine short stages – the longest is just over eight miles. There are no long stages, so it’s very important to keep mistakes to a minimum, because with the short sprints it’s almost impossible to recoup any lost time.”

Brick and Steel Border Counties Rally sponsor John McClory will again lead the challenge for Group N honours in his Subaru Impreza while Yorkshireman Steve Bannister and Hawick co-driver Louise Sutherland – seeded 17th – are the leading 2WD crew in the historic spec Ford Escort Mk2 – the first of 10 Escorts taking part in the rally.

Kieran Renton of Leitholm, with Carin Logan of Kelso on the notes, will be in the fight for honours in the fiercely-contested 1600cc category and Lauder’s Callum Atkinson, currently lying second in class 3, chases the points in his Peugeot 205Gti.