Kris Meeke has hailed his maiden World Rally Championship victory as a 'crazy experience' and continued to pay tribute to his team boss Yves Matton, co-driver Paul Nagle and former mentor, the late Colin McRae.
The Northern Irishman has returned home to a hero's welcome and says he is finally starting to get his head around his first WRC win. The Citroen driver feels the victory was even sweeter after struggling at the start of the season and before the start of Rally Argentina had targeted just a strong points finish.
“After our troubles this year, and a few mistakes, we went to Argentina simply trying to put my season back on track, get the head down and get some points,” Meeke said on his website krismeeke.com
“To be honest, probably a top five finish would have been something I'd have taken before the event.
“From shakedown everything just clicked. It was an incredible feeling to win my first WRC event, but also to do it in the manner we did it, leading from the first proper stage on Friday morning, right to the end.”
Meeke, who joined the Citroen factory WRC team in 2013 before signing for a full season last year, paid his thanks to Matton who put his trust in the British rally driver and came out in support of Meeke in the build up to Rally Argentina.
“I simply have to say thank you to Citroen Racing and Yves Matton,” he said. “And as for Citroen Racing, they put everything behind me and have been so patient with me over the past year. When I have made mistakes, they have been fully behind me. They trusted in me and this goes a little bit towards paying back that trust.”
Meeke extended his gratitude to his co-driver Nagle and believes the Irishman deserves the victory just as much.
“He's an incredible guy who's been with me through thick and thin. He did another incredible job at the weekend, and he deserves every bit of credit for the result. We started our journey together in 2007 and he's been through all the ups and downs with me.”
The 35-year-old also said it was 'very natural' to dedicate the victory to the Colin McRae and his family who supported him throughout the early stages of his career and admitted he was full of emotion at the end of the rally.
“We can't forget Colin McRae. To be honest, during the final stage I was fine emotionally. But then when I got out of the car at the stop control and saw the end-of-stage commentators in tears, it did open up the emotions a bit.
“Without that support back then I simply wouldn't have had a career in rallying. It's not just Colin, too – the whole McRae family have been fantastic. Colin's wife Alison, his father Jimmy and brother Alister all took me into Lanark and made me feel part of the whole family. I have many things to thank them all for but this one definitely had to be dedicated to Colin.”