Jimmy Girvan threw down the gauntlet to his title challengers with an emphatic win on Saturday's Brick & Steel Border Counties Rally, the second round of the Hankook MSA Scottish Championship.
Despite a puncture, the 2008 Scottish Champion led the overall results from start to finish to take victory by 17.6 seconds over David Bogie, with Mike Faulkner a further 12.7 seconds back in third.
After the disappointment of a non-finish on the Snowman Rally last month, Girvan was delighted – and relieved - to have got his Scottish title defence back on track on the Jedburgh-based event.
On a day of bright sun and blue skies, the fast, dusty, Kielder Forest stages were in sharp contrast to the snow and ice of the opening round.
Girvan, and co-driver Mike Ramsay, were immediately on the pace with fastest times through the first two tests – Ogre Hill and Redesdale – before a puncture knocked them off course on the 15-mile Harwood run. They recovered to record second quickest times on the remaining Hyndlee and Wynburgh Hill stages.
“It's been a brilliant day – the first two stages were fantastic,” he said. “When we had a puncture on the third stage and dropped a wee bit of time, I thought it was day over for me, so we had to really attack in the last two, and we've managed to just pull it back. So yes, we're really happy with the result – the championship challenge starts here!”
David Bogie and navigator Kevin Rae took top Hankook Group N honours for production-based cars in their Mistubishi Evo 9.
Having managed only a seventh-quickest time through the first stage, Bogie admitted he had felt 'a bit rusty' and Rae had been urging him on. The hurry-up call seemed to do the trick – the pair were third fastest through Redesdale, and second behind Girvan on the three remaining stages.
“It's been a good day with no major problems,” said Bogie. “The car's gone well and although we had a bit of a slow start, we got there in the end so I'm happy enough and I'm already looking forward to the next round.”
Following a difficult first round in the treacherous conditions, Mike Faulkner and Peter Foy kick-started their campaign by securing the final podium place in their Group A Mitsubishi Evo 6 although the day was not without its 'moments'.