DUNS rally ace Euan Thorburn clinched the Scottish Rally Championship for the first time when he powered to victory in the Colin McRae Forest Stages.
Thorburn’s win, behind the wheel of his Ford Focus World Rally car, ended the five-year reign of his closest rival and nemesis, David Bogie.
Dumfries driver Bogie knew that he needed to win the penultimate round to take the championship to a final decider later this month.
But, hard as he pushed, Bogie eventually slithered off on the final stage, a 10.8-miler at Craigvinean, after his Ford Fiesta R5+ suffered a bent steering arm.
“I can’t believe it,” said a delighted Thorburn, who has now won four rounds of this year’s championship and can not be overhauled.
Speaking at rally HQ in Perth, he added: “It’s been a real ding-dong battle with David all year, and it’s a pity his rally ended with technical problems.
“But I’m chuffed to bits. Finally, after all these years battling at the front, and winning rallies, I can call myself Scottish champion,” said Thorburn. “And to seal it on the Colin McRae Rally, well that’s just a dream.”
The first man to congratulate him was fives-time champion, Bogie, who had trailed by just two seconds entering the final stage.
“Euan thoroughly deserves it because he’s been the man to beat all season,” said Bogie who, in partnership with Hawick co-driver Kevin Rae, has dominated the Scottish championship since 2009.
“Sure I’d love to have taken the battle right to the wire in the season finale, but it wasn’t to be. I can only congratulate Euan.”
After Bogie’s problems on the final stage, Thorburn – co-driven by Paul Beaton from Inverness – eventually cruised to a 2min 01sec victory ahead of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 of Mike Faulkner.
Castle Douglas’s Jock Armstrong was third in his Subaru Impreza.
Mull’s John MacCrone, winner of last year’s Tunnock’s Mull Rally – and who will drive a Ford Fiesta R200 in the defence of his title next weekend – was forced to retire his Tunnock’s-liveried Fiesta R5 with broken steering on stage two after being fifth-quickest on the opener.