Super cool Finn Jukka Korhonen took his second-successive victory in the British Rally Championship Jim Clark Rally at the weekend.
But the young Scandinavian superstar was made to sweat in another thrilling shoot-out on the blisteringly fast Berwickshire roads.
Having established a healthy 38-second lead over Ulsterman Alastair Fisher after the opening six stages, and a gap of 44.4secs to Welshman Tom Cave in third, Korhonen threw 33.2secs away on the damp Swinton stage when he made a wrong tyre choice.
All three drivers were in identical Citroens and, after Cave capitalised on a spin by Fisher to get into second, the Welshman and Korhonen entered the final stage, the second run through the 11-miler at Swinton, separated by just 0.1secs.
It was Korhonen who held his nerve to win the stage, 0.7secs ahead of Fisher with Cave a further 1.2secs adrift, leaving the Finn the winner by just two seconds after 135 miles of high speed battling.
“We made it tough on ourselves,” Korhonen, co-driven by Marko Salminen and who won the opening round, the Pirelli Rally at the beginning of May, said. “We knew early in today’s first stage that we had made the wrong tyre choice and that, combined with a spin, cost us a lot of time. But we regrouped and managed to get everything right in the final stage. It’s brilliant to win our second BRC rally and especially the Jim Clark.”
Duns driver Garry Pearson was up to eighth place overall in his Ford Fiesta when he was forced out of the event after hitting a tree stump on the Ayton stage and holing the car’s radiator.
The St Boswells crew of Ross Hunter and Gary White won the Challenge Rally in their Peugeot 205. Gareth White (Maxton) and Mike Dickson (Tweedbank) were fourth and first in class in their Citroen C2R2 Max and Coldstream’s Des Campbell and Hutton co-driver Alex Orr were fifth and first in class in their Peugeot 206. Leitholm’s Keiran Renton, co-driver by his dad Keith retired his Ford Fiesta due to mechanical problems.