Kris Meeke has warned Robert Kubica he faces a "big, big challenge" as the former F1 driver prepares to begin the Rally Azores this afternoon.
It will be the Poles second appearance in the European championship as he continues his transition from grand prix winner to rally star with Citroen following the accident which almost severed his arm two years ago.
And Meeke, who won in the Azores during his Intercontinental Challenge title success in 2009, has told Kubica to "expect the unexpected" from an event which he describes as unique.
"For sure this will be a difficult one for him," said the Ulsterman who is now playing an increasing behind-the-scenes role with Citroen/Peugeot Sport.
"The island is a beautiful place and the Sete Cidades stage around the rim of a volcano is stunning but the weather plays a big part. It can close in very quickly, becoming wet, foggy and murky and turning the roads to mud.
"You have to be prepared for anything and Robert is still a relative rookie – although a brilliant one I have to say," added Meeke.
Kubica made an impressive ERC debut in the Canary Islands last month, leading before crashing out, leaving Skoda's Jan Kopecky and Peugeot Academy protege Craig Breen to take the top two places.And they are one and two in the ERC standings, Kopecky leading former Rally NI winner Breen, from Waterford, by 16 points after three rounds.
The Azores Rally, which also features 2011 Monte Carlo Rally winner Bryan Bouffier starts with a qualifying stage this morning.