“Rest in peace David Stokes”

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Scot­tish Rally Cham­pi­onship bosses are pre­dict­ing one of the most open sea­sons for years with R5-mounted ris­ing stars John Mac­crone and Garry Pear­son tak­ing on se­ries stal­warts Jock Arm­strong, the reign­ing cham­pion, and Mike Faulkner.

Ex­pe­ri­enced co-driver Neil Shanks, a mem­ber of the SRC man­age­ment com­mit­tee, be­lieves the se­ries is on the way up af­ter a dif­fi­cult 2015 when two rounds were axed due to low en­tries.

“You would say go­ing into the sea­son it’s go­ing to be the most open any con­test has been for a num­ber of years,” said Shanks. “Jock has to be the favourite be­ing the de­fend­ing cham­pion and hav­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence. He was cer­tainly quick last year.

“You would ex­pect John Mac­crone and Garry [Pear­son] to be chal­leng­ing when they get used to their cars and get some miles in. And you’ve also got Mike Faulkner who’s al­ways right up there. Shaun Sin­clair in the S9 Subaru is go­ing to be an­other one to watch, he was quick in what­ever he drove last year and he’s not chop­ping and chang­ing cars this year.”

Mac­crone and Pear­son both fea­ture in Ford Fi­esta R5s, with Mac­crone joined by ex­pe­ri­enced nav­i­ga­tor Rhi­anon Gel­somino and Pear­son part­nered by Rob­bie Mitchell.

The SRC fin­ished early last year af­ter los­ing the Mer­rick Stages and Colin Mcrae For­est Stages due to poor en­try num­bers. But the se­ries could be boosted by the re­turn of the BRC, ac­cord­ing to Shanks.

“It’s good that you have Garry and John there,” he added. “The Scot­tish cham­pi­onship is a good place for peo­ple look­ing to move on in the fu­ture, and it’s great we’re go­ing to have a strong BRC as that’s re­ally go­ing to ben­e­fit the re­gional cham­pi­onships be­cause it gives peo­ple some­thing to as­pire too.”

The In­ver­ness-based Snow­man Rally opens the Scot­tish cham­pi­onship on Satur­day and runs with a ca­pac­ity en­try with five all-gravel stages sched­uled over a com­pet­i­tive dis­tance of 44 miles.

Mac­crone did Scot­tish event in R5 in 2013 Reign­ing champ Arm­strong is favourite

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