Meeke plans early push in Mexico

2017 Rally Guanajuato Mexico winner Kris Meeke says his road position on the opening day of this week's event will be key to achieving another top result.

Meeke won last year despite almost throwing victory away when he crashed off the road into a car park less than a kilometre from the finish. Fast forward 12 months, and the Briton returns to the 9 - 11 March event as one of the favourites for success again at the wheel of Citroën's C3 WRC.

Meeke stands to benefit from a lowly position in the early start order - an important factor at one of the worst rallies in the season for loose gravel conditions.

Retirement from the last round in Sweden means he will be seventh on the road though Friday's leg, and he should encounter less of the sand and pebbles that cover the Mexican stages and are swept away with every passing car.

"We need to make the most of running seventh on the road on day one – that will be key in getting a good result," Meeke said.

"Mexico is a bit like Catalonia, one of the gravel rallies where we were pretty competitive last year. Since then, we have made further improvements to the C3 WRC, so I have high hopes that we can get among the frontrunners.

"It's definitely an event that I like: as the full power of the cars is not available, you have to be as clean as possible in your driving. I'm also pretty pleased with our recent tests. We seem to have made more progress, especially on the dampers."

The Citroën Total Abu Dhabi team has claimed seven wins from the 13 times Mexico has been contested as part of the WRC, and team boss Pierre Budar is hoping to maintain the form that took Craig Breen to second place in Sweden.

"The aim will be to pick up where we left off," Budar explained. "We know the specifics of this rally very well and claimed the C3 WRC's first ever win here. However, we also know perfectly well that the season's opening round on gravel is unusual, mainly due to the altitude, and that can shake things up completely.

"Kris is comfortable here, as he showed in 2017, and will be in a good position to record another strong result."


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