Rally of Scotland winner Kris Meeke has admitted his close battle with arch-rival Guy Wilks made the final round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge for him.
Meeke, whose car remains under investigation for a potential breach of the regulations, arrived in Stirling as the IRC champion and he said without his scrap with Wilks, the event would not have been as interesting. The Peugeot driver added that even if the full IRC field had turned out for Britain's inaugural IRC qualifier, the result would have been the same.
"I have to say it definitely made the rally exciting with Guy turning up," said Meeke. "It was definitely a good rally, the most advantage we had was 28 seconds and, on this rally, in these conditions, that's absolutely nothing. Speed wise, I was confident enough but 28 seconds can quickly evaporate when you're parked in a ditch!
"To be honest, he kept us on our toes. It was an open battle. Myself and Guy are at the top of our game and on another weekend Guy could possibly beat me, there's no question on that. I'm very happy to come away with victory on this – it's definitely been a sweet end to the year."
Meeke believes that the home stages offered him and Wilks an advantage over the rest of the field.
"We've had a season competing against everybody in the IRC and I'm fairly comfortable with the pace we're at," said Meeke. "There have been rallies where the others have been in front of me. I couldn't compete with [Giandomenico] Basso in Madeira. It was impossible to compete with Jan Kopecky in [the] Czech Republic.
"But I set my goals out at the end of [last] year – that I'm going to rallies where the best I can hope for is third position. Guy, myself and Alister [McRae] have been brought up in these conditions and we've seen this many years ago with Richard [Burns] and Colin [McRae] and there was no one to touch them on Rally GB back then.
"I know myself the pace this weekend and I don't think any of the other guys would have beaten us. No disrespect to them but this is just a unique type of environment that we're use to."