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Rally heads for the hills

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DOZENS of drivers will be in action this weekend, navigating the twists and turns of the forest for the Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally.

It is the final stage of this year’s Scottish Rally Championship and all gets underway in Dalbeattie at 9.30 pm on Saturday, with the first car due to finish in Castle Douglas at around 3.35 pm.

If all goes to plan, after 43.5 stage miles and 93 liaison miles, Dalbeattie’s Jock Armstrong and co driver Cameron Fair, are expected to finish this year’s contest in second place. And when it comes to winning Galloway Hills rallies, nobody can touch Jock, who has taken a record-breaking nine wins on home turf in his Subaru Impreza.

But he’ll have local competition tomorrow in the form of Doonhamer David Bogie, driving with John Rowan, in a Mini John Cooper Works WRC.

Meanwhile, the 2019 British Rally Championship will also be decided in Galloway for the first time, after organisers were approached to join the series as the only Scottish round. Competitors from across Great Britain and Ireland will tackle 75 miles of gravel tests. And two drivers have a mathematical chance of clinching Britain’s premier rallying title: defending champion Matt Edwards versus Tom Cave. But also lining up against them will be Keith Riddick and sister Mairi, of Haugh of Urr, as well as Richard Dickson from New Abbey with Roger Alcorn of Castle Douglas, and Castle Douglas’ Angus Lawrie with Paul Gribben from Annan.

Hundreds of spectators are expected to line the forest tracks to watch all the action.

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