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Newly-crowned ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Champion Euan Thorburn, from Duns, is hoping to pit his skills against the world’s best at Rally Wales GB next month.

The title victory on last weekend’s Colin McRae Forest Stages Rally automatically gave Thorburn and co-driver Paul Beaton entry to the national event through the highly-acclaimed Road to Wales initiative.

However, the Ford Focus WRC driver is now trying to put together a sponsorship deal and budget which would allow him to compete on the international rally in an S2000 or R5.

“Nothing is confirmed yet, but it’s the biggest rally in the country, so we want to see what we can do against some of the best drivers in the world,” said Thorburn.

“Paul and I won the National quite easily last year, and if we’d been taking part in the international event, we’d have been setting top-12 times. I’m sure if we had a recce, and used our own notes, we could improve on that.”

Dumfries rival David Bogie, whose hopes of a sixth straight Scottish title were dashed when he slid off the road on the final stage in Perthshire, switched to an M-Sport Ford Fiesta R5+ earlier this year with the specific aim of competing on the final round of the FIA World Rally Championship, alongside Hawick co-driver Kevin Rae.

“We’ve been really happy to work with IMS and the MSA on the Road to Wales Initiative,” said Neil Shanks, who is on the management committee of the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship.

“We are keeping our fingers crossed that Euan and Paul can finalise a deal to compete in the main International event, with David and Kevin already confirmed.

“For the SRC to have the last two champions competing against some of the top crews in the world in WRC2 shows the quality we have in Scotland, and we will be watching their performances with interest.”