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ERC NEWS 

Meeke hopes for final Kopecky fight

Kris MeekeKris Meeke says he relishes the prospect of taking on Intercontinental Rally Challenge title rival Jan Kopecky for one last time this season on next month's Rally of Scotland.

The Skoda factory team, which has run Kopecky in this year's IRC, had never intended to compete on the Stirling-based event - but the Czech Republic driver is expected to source a privately run Fabia S2000 for one final 2009 scrap with Meeke.

Meeke admitted that arriving on next month's IRC finale as champion will inevitably make it different to the rallies he has contested earlier in the season, but he says his attitude will be exactly the same once the competition starts.

"The atmosphere will be a bit different," he said. "But when you get to the start of the first stage and get into the race mindset, everything is the same, nothing matters.

"It'll be the start of another fight and it would be great to be in that fight with Jan. He showed on the last gravel round we did - in Azores he's no slouch on gravel, he was second to us there. It'd be very good to see him in Scotland."

Due to both the drivers' and manufacturers' IRC crowns being won before the end of the season, Abarth is expected to reduce its entry to one car for the final event.

There will, however, still be fierce competition for Meeke in the shape of Alister McRae (Proton) and recently crowned British Rally champion Keith Cronin, who will be running his Mitsubishi Lancer.

"It's great to have the McRae name on such a big Scottish event," added Meeke. "And Alister will be a real threat. He knows the woods up there and when we were both fighting in MkII Escorts on the McRae Stages last year, it was close. As well as that, we know the Proton can be strong on the loose; Guy [Wilks] finished fourth and set some good times on the gravel in Russia."

Asked who he would like to see in the BFGoodrich guest car, Meeke said: "My phone has been ringing off the hook with people asking me to put in a good word for them. I'm not going to comment on that. I had thought, initially, that Alister would be a good name for the car. It depends if they want an established name or to offer a young driver an opportunity. Whichever, it's going to be a fantastic event."

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