The ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship (SRC) awakens from its winter break in traditional style with the Highland event, based in and around Inverness.
It won't be last year's SRC champion or vice-champion's name engraved on the Snowman Rally winner's trophy this year as neither Euan Thorburn nor Jock Armstrong will be making the trip north.
Five-time champ David Bogie has not entered while the scheduled number 1 car for this weekend's event driven by Dun's Garry Pearson has now withdrawn.
So the rally is wide open, and Archiestown co-driver Michael Hendry with Mark McCulloch is expected to line up in a new car and be in strong contention.
Heading a trio of WRC cars in the leading ten cars is Elgin navigator Sean Donnelly, teaming up with Quintin Milne in their Subaru Impreza S11.
Also in the top ten is Elgin co-driver Neil Shanks in a Mitsubishi Evo X with Barry Groundwater.
The Scottish 2WD championship has also always been closely fought, and with 2017 title winner Dougal Brown, from Forres, absent, the battle has been blown wide open.
There are plenty of front-wheel-drive runners looking to make a strong start to their seasons. Elgin's Daniel Forsyth will navigate for Scott MacBeth who is the highest seed in his Citroen C2 R2 MAX, and impressed on the events he completed last season.
The all-Elgin pairing of Brian Ross and Iain Thorburn compete in a Mitsubishi Evo 6.
Championship veterans Sandy (Elgin) and Ian (Forres) Arbuthnott are again involved in a Ford Focus while Drummuir driver Alex Pirie teams up with Tomintoul's Frazer Skene in a Citroen C2 VTS.
Forres driver Liam Wood competes in a Ford Escort while Lauren Murray (Fochabers) navigates for Elgin driver Brett McKenzie in a Subaru Impreza.
This year's McDonald and Munro Speyside Stages is round three of the SRC and takes place on April 21.