Last year's winner Mike Faulkner is aiming to make it 'two in a row' on Saturday's Station Garage Mitsubishi Granite City Rally - the third round of the 2010 Hankook MSA Scottish Rally Championship.
Faulkner has vowed to 'come out fighting' alongside co-driver Peter Foy after mechanical problems put paid to their challenge on last month's Brick & Steel Border Counties Rally.
"We were absolutely gutted by the non-finish in Jedburgh," admitted Faulkner: "I know dropped scores come into play later in the year, but it felt like all the hard work we put in on the opening round, where we took the final podium spot, was undone.”
Faulkner said he was now more determined than ever to push for victory on the Aberdeenshire event in his Mitsubishi Evo 6.
"Our win there last year - our first SRC victory - was undoubtedly one of the highlights of our season. To win two on the trot is all we are focused on. If it comes off, it will be beyond what we ever thought was possible.
"The nature of the stages in Aberdeenshire is different again from those of the first two rounds. They're very technical, with a loose surface. They worked out great for us last year so we need to be confident we can put in another good performance.”
As they set out to defend their Granite crown, Faulkner and Foy will face stiff competition from the likes of Snowman winner Jock Armstrong; Shaun Sinclair, who took maximum SRC points on Border Counties; reigning Scottish champion David Bogie; and current points leader Alick Kerr.
Double Granite winner Andy Horne, Lancashire's Wayne Sisson and last year's runner-up Barry Groundwater will also be aiming for a podium spot.
Armstrong managed just three miles of the first stage on the Border Counties before the gearbox of his Subaru Impreza failed - his first DNF in more than a year's rallying. The Castle Douglas driver is keen to get his championship campaign back on track, alongside navigator Kirsty Riddick.
"After the problems on the Border Counties, we decided to build a new gearbox for the car. We just couldn't take any chances", said Armstrong. "We need a win to pick ourselves up."