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Gumball race driver banned

A RUSSIAN competitor in the annual Gumball 3000 rally admitted almost causing a head-on smash on a notorious stretch of road in the Scottish Borders while overtaking a line of cars.

Vyacheslav Tonakanyan, a 38-year-old architect, pleaded guilty to a charge of dangerous driving by overtaking a line of vehicles and being in the oppositite carriageway. HIs actions forced another vehicle to swerve off the road to avoid a collision on the A702 Dolphinton Straight in Peeblesshire on Sunday afternoon.

Depute fiscal Tessa Bradley told Selkirk Sheriff Court the charity rally involved 100 teams travelling 3000 miles from Miami to Ibiza featuring a host of celebrities driving some of the world's rarest vehicles.

Defence lawyer Ross Dow Tonakanyan had been driving the Edinburgh to London stage on behalf of his boss.

He said: "He now fears being dismissed because of what has happened."

Tonakanyan, of Solnechnogorsk in Russia, was banned from driving in the UK for two years and fined £600.

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