Rally of Scotland leader Juho Hanninen has admitted he feared the worst when he came out of Saturday morning's opening stage having dropped 18 seconds to Kris Meeke's Peugeot.
Hanninen was ill at ease on Craigvinean, struggling to find a rhythm through the opening gravel stage of this Intercontinental Rally Challenge qualifier. The Skoda driver had been sixth overall after last night's two Scone Palace stages - but his real dilemma came on today's opener.
"I couldn't do anything," said Hanninen. "It was terrible. We had a big moment near the start - actually, it lasted for the whole stage! It was dark, I couldn't find the rhythm, I couldn't read the road or the grip. I thought there was a lot of grip and I would push, then we were sliding. I came out and the time was completely s**t."
Hanninen made up for his troubled start with fastest time on the ensuing Drummond Hill stage, taking two seconds out of the everybody.
"That was much better," he said. "I like this stage. It was full daylight and a very different surface. The road was easier to read and I could find the grip."
With main rivals Guy Wilks and Kris Meeke having subsequently hit trouble, Hanninen now leads the event by 12 seconds with one stage remaining today.