The Monte Carlo Rally may not be part of the World championship but that will not make Kris Meeke’s task any easier.
The ‘Monte’, the most famous rally of all, has been dropped from the WRC series this year to be replaced as the opening round by Rally Ireland later this month.
And Ulsterman Meeke, instead of lining up in Enniskillen for the Irish event, is bound for the south of France to make his debut for the Peugeot UK team in the opening round of the rapidly growing Intercontinental Rally Challenge.
He will drive one of the new breed of Super 2000 cars, a Peugeot 207, run by the Belgian-based Kronos Racing team.
Meeke’s Kronos team will field at least two other Peugeots for reigning IRC champion Nicolas Vouilliz and
Belgian WRC veteran Freddie Loix and now it has emerged that former World champion and triple Monte winner Didier Auriol will also take part in another Peugeot. Meeke was the Junior World championship winner in Monte Carlo in 2005.
"I've never driven an S2000 machine in competition before although I have tested the new Proton,” he said. “You have to be quite assertive with them, and I think that this should suit my driving style. But I go into the championship with a lot less experience of the cars and events compared to some of the other drivers so I plan to look at the bigger picture — the championship.”