Scottish Rally leaders Paul Beaton and Euan Thorburn target British championship pace-setters
PAUL Beaton wants to be on pace with the British Rally Championship contenders by the end of the year.
Alongside driver Euan Thorburn, Beaton is challenging for the Scottish title and hopes to pick up pace in their Ford Fiesta for a sustained run at the British championship in 2018.
Beaton and Thorburn are entered in both competitions this year but the main focus is on the Scottish, where they hold an eight-point lead over reigning champion Jock Armstrong.
But the long-term goal is to become a big player on the British scene, which can then open doors further afield. The relaunching of the championship last year has been an unqualified success, with Beaton believing the competition is returning to the prestige it carried in the 1980s.
Finances remain a struggle – they have been without a main sponsor for the last two years – but there is hope winning the Scottish title can help remedy that too.
“I want to be on pace with the British guys by the end of the year, to set us up for a good push next year,” said Beaton.
“We’re not a million miles away.
“Iain Campbell and his team have done a brilliant job reviving the British Championship; it used to be a proving ground for the World Rally Championship in the 1980s and I’d say it’s getting back to those days.
“We’re looking at doing Rally GB at the end of the year, which is a WRC stage.
“If we’re there as Scottish champions, I’d like to think we’d have someone sponsor-wise on board by then.”
Beaton, an electrician with IRN Security in Inverness, and Thorburn, won their last SRC race in Dumfries and head to Argyll for the next round of the championship on June 24.
“They won the Scottish title in 2014, but by their own admission, have not done much since then, entering the odd World or European event and only being able to fund half-a-season of BRC action last year.
“If you’re thinking about how much you car is going to cost to fix, you’re not going to run the risk of crashing it,” added Beaton.
“We’ve got guys working on the car that work in garages through the week or are building sheds.
“These other teams have guys working on their cars throughout the week and know every nut and bolt.”