Euan Thorburn will be looking to tighten his grip on the 2014 ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship with a second successive win in Dumfries on Saturday.
The Duns-based driver, who won his first RSAC Scottish Rally 12 months ago in his Ford Focus WRC, starts the second half of his championship campaign with an eight-point lead in the overall standings.
He has chalked up two victories so far this year alongside co-driver Paul Beaton from Inverness - the season-opening Snowman Rally, and the Granite City Rally in April.
On Saturday, he will resume his duel with defending champions David Bogie and co-driver Kevin Rae from Hawick, as the Scottish Rally Championship returns to the gravel following the cancellation of the Berwickshire-based Jim Clark Reivers tarmac round in tragic circumstances.
For Bogie, his home event will open a new chapter in a stellar rallying career, as he lines up his newly-acquired M-Sport Ford Fiesta R5+, which replaces the Focus WRC of the past 18 months.
The five-time title-holder has one aim in mind as he gets to grips with the new car: “The second half of the season is all about getting it set up correctly to my liking and giving ourselves the best chance possible for a crack at the final round of the world championship, Wales Rally GB, in November.
“The R5 is a lot simpler in every respect, compared to the Focus, but with new technology, it should be quicker”. Jane Nicol from Duns will be back on the notes for Wigtownshire driver Fraser Wilson, as the pair target a second successive maximum points haul in the Group N category in their Mitsubishi EVO 9.
Yorkshireman Steve Bannister, with Louise Rae from Hawick on the notes, will be the man to beat for overall two-wheel drive honours on the day in his Ford Escort Mk2.
Colin Aitchison from Duns currently leads the way in Class 9 in his Vauxhall Chevette HSR and will be co-driven by Dave O’Brien, while in Class 7, Callum Atkinson from Lauder sits in second spot, three points adrift, in his Ford Fiesta R2. In Class 3, RSAC Motorsport New Talent Scholarship driver Blair Brown, with Richard Simmonds of Duns navigating, has a slender two-point lead in the Class 3 championship.
Other Borders crews competing include Garry and Hollie Wilson from Duns in their EVO 5 and Leitholm’s Kieran Renton in a Ford Fiesta R200.