Half-term report: Kris Meeke
We look at how the Citroen driver has performed so far this season
It turned out to be a bittersweet rally for the Northern Irishman, who came close to a top-five finish before a massive roll wrecked his car and put his WRC career in jeopardy.
Before heading to Finland for a pre-event test this weekend, Kris talked to wrc.com about the rally, his experiences last year and how he would approach the challenge this time.
Q: How do you look back on Rally Finland 2013?
KM: “I like to think I grabbed that opportunity with both hands. I knew it was a one-off, on the trickiest and fastest rally in the WRC, and as I hadn’t done an event in two years it was a huge challenge. But if I’d done a really sensible rally, finished somewhere in the top ten, I don’t know if it would have created any more opportunities. I’d seen Chris Atkinson get the same offer in Mexico, and he finished sixth, which wasn’t enough to encourage another drive, so I had to throw caution to the wind. Unfortunately it fell apart on the last kilometre on the second run through Ouninpohja. But I was prepared to roll the dice and luckily by that time I’d done enough.”
Q: This is the first time you’ll repeat a rally in the DS3. Will that allow you to push harder?
KM: “Let’s say I hope the familiarity allows me to feel more comfortable and I can drive at a pace that is closer to the front running guys. To get consistent speed at this level it has to come naturally. I’m just hoping that being there last time in the DS3 and carrying my experience this year will knock my level up a notch. We’ve seen before that when drivers get into their second season things start to come together for them. I’m hoping the same will happen with me.”
Q: What is your goal for Finland this time?
KM: “I’ll drive it as I feel it. Okay, there’s no denying that I would love to finish on the podium, but will I go there chasing that result? No. I’ll drive at my own rhythm and hope that will allow me to get a good result.”
Q: There are more repeat rallies for you this season. Will we see you challenging for a rally win?
KM: “To win a rally in my first full season would be an incredible achievement. I’ve had a couple of podiums so the next realistic position is second, but I just want to continue my progression. I don’t think I’ve reached my full potential by a long way. I hope as I get more miles under my best it will all start coming together. I want to win rallies and I want to win a WRC title, so I’ll not stop exploring all the boundaries until I can achieve those goals.”