Solberg, in an M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC, started Sunday’s final six stages 45 seconds in front of Meeke’s MINI John Cooper Works WRC. But a stunning charge by Meeke meant he had slashed Solberg’s margin to just 1.8s heading into the event-closing Power Stage.
“I didn’t find a good rhythm in the car,” said Solberg. “Even though I changed a lot of things [on the car] the last day and I didn’t recognise how to drive it. I was a bit nervous and thought Kris could catch me. But on the long last stage [Crychan] I made the car much softer and that helped me because he was beating me. But then I had a [half-spin] in a right-hander not so far from the end of the stage and lost nine seconds. I don’t know why it happened but it meant Kris got even closer to me. But for the Power Stage I was much faster and when I knew his time was bad [after he spun] I took it easy.”
Of the moment on the Power Stage that cost him a shot at the podium, Meeke said: “We just got caught on a hairpin in the ruts, it just hugged the inside and it pulled the steering wheel out of my hands.”