Bradley Forbes-Cryans made a superb start to Olympic year as he qualified second-fastest at the European Canoe Slalom Championships in Ivrea, Italy.
Only Giovanni de Gennaro was quicker down the course in the K1 heats as the Scot went down in 76.51 secs, 1.58 slower than the Italian leader.
Forbes-Cryans carried a 0.13s lead through the first section but lost 1.5s on the middle section with three upstream gates. He finished well and incurred no time penalties for touching or missing gates.
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It was the first time the 26-year-old has raced internationally since being controversially selected for Team GB ahead of reigning Olympic champion Joe Clarke.
Clarke safely advanced from the heat and was 16th fastest in a time of 79.58, with one time penalty.
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Britain's other male K1 athlete, Chris Bowers, finished two places and 1.17s shy of the top 30 which advance to the semi-finals.
Meanwhile, Kimberley Woods overcame two penalties to upgrade bib ten to a heat placing of seventh in a confident return to racing.
Team GB-selected Woods navigated the course in 89.95 secs, 3.36 shy of the lead held by Germany's Cindy Poeschel.
Rio Olympic finalist Fiona Pennie needed a second run to make the semi-finals after a nightmare first effort in which she had to renegotiate whole stretches of the course.
Reigning world champion Eva Tercelj of Slovenia also needed a second run having finished a 0.1s outside the automatic qualifiers on the first run.
Britain's first shot at medals comes in team events for the K1 men and women tomorrow. The C1 programme also begins with GB represented by Mallory Franklin, Sophie Ogilvie and Woods in the women's events and David Florence and Adam Burgess in the men's.
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Canoe Slalom - Tokyo 2020 - Olympic Highlights