DAVID Bogie blasted his way to a 17 second victory in the McDonald and Munro Speyside Stages.
At the same time the Dumfries driver increased his lead in the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship over Borders rival Euan Thorburn.
The four-times Scottish title-holder, with co-driver Kevin Rae from Hawick, was fastest through seven of the nine short Moray forest stages in his Ford Focus WRC to take his fifth victory on the Elgin-based event.
Banchory’s Quintin Milne snatched the final podium spot in his Mitsubishi EVO 9, finishing nearly 90 seconds further back.
Bogie, who had lost out to Thorburn on the previous round in Dumfries, said: "I really wanted to get as many fastest times as possible, so I’m more than happy to get seven out of nine.
"When it’s as close as it is with Euan it makes it more enjoyable – you’re pushing all the time, and at the end of the stage you’re desperate to hear what time he’s done.
"On the last stage he stalled on the start line and maybe dropped five seconds, and it actually made the job harder because I wasn’t quite sure what pace to drive at."
Thorburn, also driving a focus with co-driver Paul Beaton from Inverness, said: "We’ve had problems all day with the damper and it’s been under-steering a fair bit. We got some time back from David during the afternoon stages and were fastest through two of them, but it wasn’t enough, and then we had a stall on the start line of the final stage, followed by fuel pressure problems.
"We’ll try to keep pushing David but there are only three rounds left, so we’re running out of time".
It was "nip and tuck" all day between Milne, co-driven by Martin Forrest, and Jock Armstrong and Kirsty Riddick in a Subaru Impreza. In the event, Milne secured his third place by four seconds from the Castle Douglas pair, and remains second in the championship, eleven points behind Bogie.
Moray pairing Sean Donnelly (co-driver) and Brian Ross finished 13th overall, despite the strong field, and more than their fair share of issues on the day.
They had three big moments during the day and a small problem of the engine stalling on tight hairpins. Despite that they achieved their best result so far in the event.
"We managed 14th last year, and with the strong field this year I wasn’t sure if we could match last year’s position but Brian drove flawlessly all day," said Donnelly.
Their first run through SS4 at Gartly Moore saw them post the 11th fastest time and on SS7 they posted the ninth quickest time.
They finished just two seconds off 12th place.
Added Donnelly: "Neil Shanks and his team along with the marshals put on the best event of the year and deserve all the credit they get."
Ross commented: "13th overall was remarkable considering the number of incidents we had throughout the day that very nearly ended our rally."
A very slippy SS1 caught them out on one occasion but no harm was done.
On SS3 they ran wide on a corner which caused them to lose grip and end up mid air and at a funny angle to the road.
Ultimately there was no harm done apart from lost time.
SS6 was a fast stage and Ross was pushing a little too hard when he slid wide and hit a bank with a fair amount of force causing Donnelly to rattle his head off the rollcage.
"We bent some suspension parts but managed to get to service and replace them," said Ross.
"Thanks to my car preparation company DMC Performance and old Donnie "Yoda" MacDonald for his words of wisdom.
"It was a very well organised and run event that is a credit to Elgin and Moray."
The sixth round of the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship is the GWF Energy Merrick Stages in Wigtown on September 7th.
Speyside Stages: Top five results with total times:
1 David Bogie (Dumfries)/Kevin Rae (Hawick) Ford Focus WRC 42.25
2 Euan Thorburn (Duns)/Paul Beaton (Inverness) Ford Focus WRC 42.42
3 Quintin Milne (Banchory)/Martin Forrest (Aberdeen) Mitsubishi EVO 9 44.09
4 Jock Armstrong (Castle Douglas)/Kirsty Riddick (Haugh of Urr) Subaru Impreza 44.13
5t Dave Weston Snr (Aberdeen)/Dave Robson (Jedburgh) Ford Focus WRC 44.23
13th - Brian Ross & Sean Donnelly (Elgin)
20th - Richard & Garry Ramsay (Elgin)
21st - Stephen Ballie (Mosstodloch) & Susan Shanks (Elgin)
31st - Billy Miller & Ian Imach (Elgin/Buckie)
38th - Alex Pirie (Keith) & David Law (Cairnie)
47th - Neil Philip (Alves)
50th - Craig Whyte (Newton) & Darren MacDonald (Mosstodloch)
54th - Stewart Morrison & James Ralph (Elgin/Lossie)
Brian Stephen (Elgin) & Michael Hendry (Archiestoun)
Mike Grant & Graham Kelman (Elgin)
Darren & Daniel Christie (Huntly)