Tuesday | 23 Sep 2014

Meeke and Alén compare styles

Citröen’s Kris Meeke was given an insight into the driving style employed by the WRC stars of yesteryear when he shared his DS3 WRC with legendary Finn Markku Alén last week.

The Northern Irishman sat alongside the 19-time rally winner as he sampled Meeke’s DS3 WRC at the ‘Citroen Racing Experience’ media event – held at Circuit d’Issoire, a test facility close to the French squad’s base at Clermont-Ferrand in France.

Alén, the winner of the 1978 FIA Cup for Drivers’ and one of Lancia’s most spectacular drivers during the Gp B era, drove Citröen’s current WRC challenger on a gravel stage and Meeke admitted it was fascinating to observe the Finn at close quarters.

Markku Alén prepares to take the wheel of the DS3 WRC

“Markku is one of the legends of the sport. He’s 63 years old but you know straight away that he has the ability and knows what to do with the car,” Meeke told WRC.com. “I’m not a great passenger but it’s fantastic to sit in with someone that can throw the car about and do everything absolutely right. And to see him taking so much pleasure from it was brilliant.”

Meeke spoke at length to Alén about the driving style that’s required to get the best out of modern WR Car machinery, and he found it fascinating to see and hear about the contrasting style that took Alén to a brace of second-place finishes in the WRC standings during the 1980s.

Alén showed Meeke his natural skills on the gravel stage

Meeke said: “The interesting thing was talking to Markku. In his head he still sees bumps, jumps and everything and he’s naturally looking to manage everything on the road. But now the cars are so capable with the suspension development and everything that they deal with that easily.

“As the WRC drivers of today, we’re pre-programmed to what the cars are capable of. Yes, we’re travelling down stages faster, but if you take Markku’s car (from the 1980s) without the suspension, they were taking the same big risks as we are because their cars weren’t as capable.”

Mads Ostberg, Meeke’s Citröen team-mate, also got the chance to sit with one of the WRC’s former stars at the media event. He shared his DS3 WRC with charismatic Frenchman, François Delecour.

Citröen also used the event as an opportunity for the hopefuls in its young driver development programme to test a range of cars in its rallying fleet, including its R1, R3, R5 and DS3 WRC machines.

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