Thorburn back in hunt for title after Scottish triumph

Euan Thorburn winning the Scottish Rally Championship section of the RSAC Scottish Rally.
Euan Thorburn winning the Scottish Rally Championship section of the RSAC Scottish Rally.
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Euan Thorburn got his campaign back on track with a decisive win in Saturday’s fourth round of the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship in Dumfries.

Series leader David Bogie, with Hawick co-driver Kevin Rae, had to settle for the runner-up spot at his home event.

Borderer Thorburn led the RSAC Scottish Rally from start to finish in his Ford Focus WRC, completing the five special stages 19.5 seconds ahead of the defending champion, who was also in a Focus.

Banchory’s Quintin Milne snatched the final podium spot in his Mitsubishi EVO 9 to consolidate his second place in the drivers’ standings, eight points behind Bogie.

Thorburn, co-driven by Paul Beaton from Inverness, had been determined to push for the win after losing out to Bogie on his local rally, the Jim Clark Reivers in Duns, at the beginning of June.

“We had a big push in Ae Forest in the morning and got a good time, so it was all about consolidating that during the afternoon stages,” said Thorburn at the finish in Dumfries town centre.

“We kept the pace up and made sure we were in front of David, but there were some big stones and rocks to watch out for, so it was also a case of keeping it tidy and avoiding punctures.

“We came here for the victory today, so we’re obviously delighted – we just need to go out and win the rest now.”

For their part, Bogie and Rae had gone into the “Scottish” looking for a third victory on the Dumfries event, and their third back-to-back success of the current season.

Bogie said: “Over the last few years, I’ve been pretty consistent and quick on this event, but Euan raised his game today.

“It could have been better, but we should be pleased with second, and it keeps us ahead in the championship.”

Jedburgh co-driver Dave Robson was on the notes for Aberdeen’s Dave Weston, with whom he won the Scottish rally in 2008.

Weston was making his return to competition after two-and-a-half years and despite the lay-off, was on course for a possible podium place early on before a puncture knocked them down to sixth.

“It was all about trying to get back in the groove after such a long time away,” said Weston.

“The first stage was a steep learning curve, the second stage we were starting to push on a bit.

“We had a massive moment in the middle of the fourth test, which lasted for hundreds of yards – and that gave me a real fright.”