Battle for top spot moves to Aberfeldy

The fight for the 2013 ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship resumes on Saturday on the penultimate round, the Colin McRae Forest Stages.

Duns driver Euan Thorburn is targeting his third win of the season as he attempts to reel in defending title-holder David Bogie with Hawick co-driver Kevin Rae on the Aberfeldy course.

Thorburn, co-driven by Paul Beaton of Inverness, powered his Ford Focus WRC to a 44-second victory over his Dumfries rival on the GWF Energy Merrick Stages, and thwarted Bogie’s bid to seal an unprecedented fifth consecutive Scottish crown with two rounds remaining.

Currently third in the drivers’ championship, Thorburn said: “Our aim is simple – to keep the championship away from David as long as possible.”

A puncture and a spin on the final stage in Galloway put paid to Bogie’s chances of wrapping up the title in his Focus WRC. The reigning champion said: “The Merrick result was obviously a big disappointment.

“But I love the McRae, and we’re going into the event determined to get the job done.”

Bogie and Thorburn will start behind last year’s McRae winner Quintin Milne, who is entered in his Mitsubishi EVO 9, and sits second in the championship, 12 points behind Bogie.

Kieran Renton from Coldstream, who with Kelso co-driver Carin Logan, has been a leading contender in the 1600cc category, will be aiming to get his campaign back on track after a rare non-finish on the Merrick when he rolled his Ford Fiesta R2. Lauder’s Callum Atkinson will be back in action after wrapping up the Ecosse 205 Challenge championship.

Other Borders’ competitors are: David Weston (Aberdeen)/Dave Robson (Jedburgh), Ford Focus WRC; Steve Bannister (Malton)/Louise Sutherland (Hawick), Ford Escort; Gordon Murray (Perth)/Dave O’Brien (Duns), Ford Escort; Jim Aitken (Perth)/James Braithwaite (Jedburgh), MG ZR.