Meeke earns Mäkinen plaudits

Toyota Gazoo Racing team principal Tommi Mäkinen has praised Kris Meeke’s consistent run of form which has helped the Japanese squad close the gap on Hyundai Motorsport in the WRC’s manufacturers’ title race. 

Toyota has outscored Hyundai on three of the last four rounds, with Meeke contributing well in the last three rallies. 

Mäkinen said he was happy to see the Northern Irishman looking more relaxed and consistent, especially with a strong and safe fourth place at Wales Rally GB last week. 

“If we look now Kris has done very good [in the] last rallies, performing very well and bringing points,” said the four-time world champion. 

“There was some pressure and before that there was some learning. He was taking too much pressure, but now he is relaxing and there have been no mistakes here. It’s difficult conditions, but no mistakes in Germany or Turkey.” 

Mäkinen pointed to Dani Sordo’s approach at Hyundai as the one he would like Meeke to follow. 

He added: “Kris has very, very good speed and he’s bringing good points to the team when he is accepting to drive his own rally and do his own thing. 

“I would say this is very similar behaviour with Dani Sordo: he’s not looking for anything, he just keeps going and doing his own thing without taking the pressure.” 

All three Toyota drivers are out of contract at the end of the season. Championship leader Ott Tänak is deciding on his future right now, while Jari-Matti Latvala and Meeke are fighting to retain their places. 

There remains strong speculation that teenager Kalle Rovanperä, who won the WRC 2 Pro crown in Britain last weekend, will join the team next year from Skoda Motorsport. 

Asked to compare Meeke and Latvala, Mäkinen said: “From Germany onwards, I can see Kris stronger.”

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