SCOTTISH RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW SCOTTISH SERIES TO BOUNCE BACK PAUL LAWRENCE
“Rest in peace David Stokes”
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.