Gravel champion switches to Protyre Asphalt Rally Championship
He’s best known for his prowess on gravel – winning the BTRDA Gold Star title twice and the Scottish Rally Championship three times – but this year multi-champion Euan Thorburn is swapping rocky forest tracks for the smooth and fast lanes of the Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship.
It’s a big coup for Britain’s premier sealed-surface series, as attracting the reigning BTRDA Series and Scottish Rally Champion is yet another illustration of how much the Asphalt Rally Championship is growing. And the increasing number of challenging closed road rallies on the Asphalt calendar, together with the guarantee of red-hot competition, is a big attraction for the talented 33-year old Duns-based driver.
Co-driven by Paul Beaton, Thorburn might be better known as a gravel expert, but he’s also done well on asphalt rallies in the past – winning the Jim Clark National Rally in 2012 and ’13 and finishing a career-best fifth overall on the Manx International Rally in 2009.
His Ford Focus WRC05 has been completely rebuilt over the winter and put into asphalt spec ahead of the opening round of the Protyre-backed series, the Legend Fires North West Stages Rally in Lancashire on Saturday 21 March.
“Having won the Scottish and BTRDA titles last year, we thought it would be nice to go and do something different as you don’t want to keep doing the same events every year.”
“The Asphalt Rally Championship is certainly heading in the right direction and is becoming increasingly very popular. There is a very good entry for the opening round – we’ve never done the North West Stages before, so we’ll see how we get on and take it from there. The closed road events will suit us more, and having more of them on the Asphalt calendar is a big attraction for us. The Jim Clark is our local event and we’ve done that a few times, and we’ve also rallied on the Isle of Man, but apart from that all the events will be new.”
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