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More than 100 rally crews will descend upon Dumfries this Saturday for the fifth round of the MSA Scottish Rally Championship.

The “Scottish” is celebrating its 80th anniversary and has attracted a large number of local drivers as well as a host of rally crews from all over the UK to compete in what is shaping up to be a very hotly contested event.

Competitors will face over 40-miles of stages around the Dumfriesshire forests, as well as the ever-popular special stage around Heathhall.

With only 6 points separating the top four drivers in the championship, the entry list wasn’t long in filling up with crews desperate to impress on this classic event.

Dumfries driver and current Scottish champion David Bogie, partnered by Kevin Rae, is top seed for his home event. After a non-finish on the Jim Clark rally due to gearbox problems, he is looking to bounce back this weekend.

The 24-year-old said: “The Scottish is one of my favourite events in the championship. The stages are fast and it’s always nice having home support. Last year we picked up a puncture on the last stage whilst leading the rally so I feel there’s some unfinished business there. Ultimately though I need to make sure I gain some valuable points after our early exit at the Jim Clark.”

However, Bogie will face stiff competition from his nearest rivals. Last year’s “Scottish” winner Jock Armstrong alongside regular co-driver Kirsty Riddick, is making his SRC return on the event in his Subaru Impreza and will start the event one behind Bogie.

The Castle-Douglas driver was hoping to make an appearance at the Jim Clark earlier this month, however his car was hit by last minute problems.

Winners of the 2009 “Scottish” Mike Faulkner and Peter Foy will be third over the ramp in their Mitsubishi Evo 6 and will be hoping to go one better than their second place on the Jim Clark.

Duns based driver Euan Thorburn, co-driven by Paul Beaton, will be confident going into the event after taking top honours on the Reivers rally in the last round. The crew are fourth seeds on Saturday in their Ford Focus WRC and Thorburn feels “there is still more to come from the car”.

Fifth seed Barry Groundwater is currently joint top of the table alongside David Bogie and will be hoping for a podium place when he tackles the stages in his Mitsubishi Evo 9.

There is an equally impressive entry for the 2wd classes and the Historics, who will once again lead the field with the welcomed return of the Land-Rovers finishing off the entries.

Spectator favourite Steve Bannister will lead the Historics over the start ramp in his trusted MK2 Escort at 8.30am on Saturday with the 4wd cars due approximately an hour later.

The spectator stage will once again run at Heathhall with a new afternoon start time of 2.10pm this year and the first crew are due back over the finish ramp in Dumfries High Street around 4pm.

Spectators can find out more about the rally, entry lists and stages etc, by purchasing a programme from the Ice Bowl, King Street, Dumfries, St Michaels Street Services, Dumfries, the Steamboat Inn, Carsethorn and J.J’s Chip Shop, Southerness. Programmes are priced at £5 with £1 from every sale going to Help for Heroes.

For more information on the Scottish Rally and the Scottish Rally Championship please visit http://www.scottishrally.co.uk or http://www.scottishrallychampionship.co.uk

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