Paddon: The movie
New documentary tells the story of Hayden's career so far
The Ulsterman, winner in Argentina in April and the only man able to challenge the dominant Volkswagen Motorsport drivers in Portugal last month, has plenty of experience of the Sardinian roads after five starts on the Mediterranean island event.
However, much of that specific knowledge will be redundant as more than three-quarters of the competitive distance on the sixth round of the FIA World Rally Championship has changed from last year.
Friday’s opening leg is totally fresh but Meeke believes the new roads will be more equal for all with previous experience carrying less importance.
“Although Rally Italia Sardegna is one of the events I am most familiar with, I think it’s a very good thing that a lot of the stages are new this year. Everyone will start with new pace notes,” said the DS 3 pilot.
“This is one of the roughest rallies in the championship. The roads are narrow with stones and exposed rocks just off the racing line. So, this event calls for very precise notes and very clean driving. Some sections are bit like a marathon.”
Meeke has no doubts he can take the fight to Volkswagen’s Jari-Matti Latvala, Sébastien Ogier and Andreas Mikkelsen, who locked out the podium in Portugal.
“Since Mexico, we have shown that we are capable of consistently fighting at the front, so we need to keep up our good form. A podium finish would therefore be a perfect result,” he added.