Kris Meeke's pace at last weekend's Rally Germany demonstrated he had earned his place in the World Rally Championship field, according to Mini's technical director Dave Wilcock.
On a sensational asphalt debut for the Mini WRC – where Dani Sordo placed the sister car to Meeke's on the podium in third place – the British-based team was delighted with the pace of the car and the Northern Irishman.
"We are very, very pleased with the car and Kris," said Wilcock. "We all know what Dani is capable of on this rally and he drove a fantastic rally, but I think Kris showed what he was capable of here as well; he demonstrated why he is worthy of his place in the field. For me, Kris had nothing to prove, but he did just that here."
Having run fifth for much of the event, the former IRC champion slipped behind Petter Solberg to sixth before an electrical fault ruled him out of the rally altogether on the penultimate stage.
Mini chief David Richards echoed Wilcock's sentiments, adding: "Kris has done a great job. Generally, he should be very proud of what he's done. I had little doubt this was the performance he was going to do, personally, I think he's been underestimated for many years."
Meeke said: "Not finishing was obviously hugely frustrating, but we have set some times on this rally. It was a bit of a lottery out there with regard to punctures, but we're taking the positives away from here. When everything was going well and we had no punctures, we were right there with Dani."
Talking about his third place, Sordo said: "This is one of the best results of my career, but it doesn't mean we're going to the next round trying to win. The car is fantastic and this result was more than I expected."
On only his and the car's third event, Sordo was never out of the top six.