Former British Rally champion David Higgins narrowly missed out on victory this weekend in the opening round of the 2009 Chinese Rally Championship, the Jiangning Rally.

Higgins and co-driver Ieuan Thomas thrilled spectators by fighting with event winner, Jussi Valimaki from Finland, from the start, until they hit problems on Saturday.

"We finished second by 36 seconds, but we lost 45 seconds on Saturday with a problem otherwise things could have been different," Higgins explained at the finish.

"We broke a rear shock absorber and lost the time over the next three rough stages. The roads on the event were quite rough with some big rocks throughout."

It had been seven months since the last round of the CRC in 2008 and David was delighted to resume competing in China.

"It was great to get back onto the stages and out with the team again," he continued, "and there's not much time before the next round now either. We're back in just three weeks for the Huairou Rally at the start of July."

For the record, although Higgins does not qualify for points in the overall drivers' championship [as he is not from China], he picked up second place points for the WY Rally Team in the teams' championship, which he has helped them win in the past.