McCormack and Greer facing a tough BRC test after triumphs
Marty McCormack and Jonny Greer head to the Scottish Rally this weekend on the back of local victories but they will find the opposition steps up a level as they return to the British championship.
McCormack honed his preparations with a decisive win on the Donegal Forest Rally last Saturday and Greer won his second Northern Ireland championship round in equally convincing fashion on the Glens of Antrim Rally a week earlier.
A former British junior champion, McCormack took a podium place in his R5 Skoda Fabia on the previous round of the BRC, the Pirelli International, but overall the Irish contingent have not fared well in the series so far.
Reigning Irish Tarmac champion Keith Cronin was touted as a potential pre-season favourite. He has won the British title three times in the past and a shift from Citroen to an M-Sport Ford Fiesta looked to have given him a strong shot at a fourth success.
But with just one fourth place to his credit after two rounds he is already 43 points behind leader Fredrik Ahlin, the Swede having won the Border and Pirelli rallies. McCormack is best placed in sixth with Greer, having suffered a rare retirement in his Citroen DS3, down in 11th.
And Desi Henry, who had two podium finishes last season, has yet to register a point.
Although the venue is just across the North Channel to the forests of Dumfries and Galloway, it won't get any easier for the Irish group who not only have Ahlin to contend with but the Welsh duo of Tom Cave and Osian Pryce, the Swedish star's closest rivals this season.
Then there is David Bogie, a multi Scottish champion who, despite an indifferent start, should be a strong contender on his home round.
Further back in the field young Irish chargers like William Creighton, Callum Devine and Marty Gallagher are right in the thick of the battle for the British Junior title.