Fredrik Ahlin leads the 2017 Prestone MSA British Rally Championship as the series heads again to Scotland for the RSAC Scottish Rally this weekend with 74 stage miles lying ahead for the crews.
Ahlin goes into the third round of the championship looking to make it a hat trick of wins this season after already winning both the Brick and Steel Border Counties and Pirelli International Rallies in 2017.
However, the Swede won’t have things all his own way, with Tom Cave and Osian Pryce leading the challengers to the Swede’s dominance.
Cave again returns in the Hyundai i20 R5 that made its BRC debut last time out in Kielder despite initially announcing the car was only to make a one-off appearance this season. But after a strong showing in the new car before suspension failure on the Pirelli, Cave and the i20 reunite this weekend to take on the gravel stages around Southern Scotland.
Meanwhile Welshman Pryce will be hoping to keep his consistent start to the season going, having already secured two podium finishes behind Ahlin this season and after a second placed finish last time out, will be hoping to go one better in Scotland.
Another driver who could beat Ahlin to top honours this weekend is David Bogie, who competes in his home event this weekend and showed in Cumbria three weeks ago that if he has the reliability in the car, can challenge at the front of the field. Bogie enters round three having won the final four stages of the Pirelli last time out after having brake issues on day one in Kielder.
Third on the Pirelli Marty McCormack will be hoping to continue his form into round three in his Skoda Fabia R5 and continue his strong start to the year, while Desi Henry, who took third on this event last year, will be looking to finish strongly here again this season.
Keith Cronin, who had issues all weekend last time out will be hoping for more luck as the championship heads north in the M-Sport-prepared Fiesta and will again be partnered by Alex Laffey in a sister Fiesta; Laffey another driver who enters his home event this weekend.
Jonny Greer, fresh from winning the Glens of Antrim Rally in Northern Ireland will go into the Scottish event this weekend to continue earning points before the championship’s move to asphalt based events later in the season which the Irishman much prefers while Euan Thorburn will contest both the Scottish and British Championships this weekend as part of the rally.
The main BRC1 class is rounded out by Jamie Anderson in a CA1 Sport-ran Fiesta, Rhys Yates who is another driver aiming to continue a strong start to the season and Matt Edwards who is constantly improving and has shown pace to challenge at the head of the field already this season.
Just 0.4 seconds separated William Creighton and Callum Devine at the end of the Pirelli three weeks ago in the battle for the win in the JBRC class and both return this weekend with winning the main priority.
After a strong start to the season on the Border Counties, Oscar Solberg will be hoping to reboot his season and get back on track this weekend with the added bonus of playing his joker, while third last time out Meirion Evans will be hoping to keep up his good form going into round three.
Stage winner in Cumbria Cameron Davies could challenge at the front this weekend in his Peugeot 208 R2 while Marty Gallagher, another driver who enters two championships this weekend, will continue in the BRC with the aim of earning a solid points finish.
BRCJ is rounded out by James Williams, who scored points in the BRC for the first time last time out and Josh McErlean who again enters in the Citroen C2 R2 that has already shown to be extremely quick at times this season.
Cadet BRC sees six entries this weekend, with Josh Cornwell aiming like BRC1 man Ahlin to make it three wins from three events in 2017. However despite being victorious twice already this season, Cornwell knows that drivers such as Fergus Barlow – who crashed out of the Pirelli when battling with Cornwell at the front of the standings in Cumbria and Tom Williams could defeat him this weekend.
Cadet BRC is rounded out by Alex Waterman, Nabila Tejpar and Australian Arron Windus who returns in a Vauxhall Adam R2 Cup in Scotland.
A dual in both the National Rally Cup and R4 classes look set to take place this weekend. NRC sees Scottish driver Donnie McDonald in his Ford Fiesta R5 go up against John Morrison in a Mitsubishi Evo IX while R4 should see Gee Atherton, who had a nasty accident at Fort William on a mountain bike last weekend, battle with David White in a pair of Ford Fiesta R2T’s. Finally, Spencer Wilkinson is set to enter the rally in his Subaru Impreza, although a shortage of parts may force the Production Class leader to sit out the event this weekend.
The RSCA Scottish Rally takes place this weekend between May 19-20.