Kris Meeke has moved closer to victory in the final round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge season after extending his lead on Saturday morning's stages in Scotland.
Meeke, who led the event overnight, saw closest rival Guy Wilks go fastest on the first stage of the morning at the wheel of his Skoda Fabia but then responded by going quickest on stage nine and stage ten – the 33km run through Loch Ard.
It means Peugeot driver Meeke now holds a lead of 27.9secs heading into Saturday afternoon's stages.
“That was absolutely fantastic, I have to say that all the rallies I've done around the world this stage was the best,” said Meeke. “The crests and everything make this a pleasure to drive, and we managed to get another eight seconds or so on Guy so it's all good.
“I don't know what Guy's plan is, but as far as I'm concerned it's going fantastic. It's interesting to know how before this event Guy was determined to win here, but now on the event when we are quicker he is just wanting to finish. It's nice to know we have to power to change his mind!”
Wilks meanwhile admitted that his focus was firmly on securing a strong finish for Skoda UK and that he was keen to stay out of trouble during the afternoon run through the stages.
“This is going to be a long, tricky day," he said. "The stages were very slippery and we have a very clear job to do here this weekend for Skoda UK – that's to bring the car home to the finish and that's exactly what we're focusing on.
“It would have been very easy to pick up a puncture in any of the three stages this morning but particularly, Loch Ard. So we just kept it in the middle of the road and out of trouble. If the times and the result come, then they come but so far, we are very happy with second place.”
Despite suffering gear shift issues on his Proton Satria, Alister McRae continues to hold third place although the Scot is now more than two minutes off the pace while Jonathan Greer leads Group N in fourth place ahead of David Bogie.
Kaspar Koitla sits seventh and is the leading two-wheel driver runner at the wheel of his Honda having seen team-mate Martin Kangur go off the road.