Belfast Telegraph

In-form Meeke looks forward to tarmac challenge

By Sammy Hamill

There has been little time for Kris Meeke to sit back and reflect on his highly acclaimed podium finish on Rally Finland, the first by a British driver in more than a decade.

Already he is back to work, taking part in what he regards as a crucial two-day test with the Abu Dhabi Citroen team ahead of the next round of the World championship, Rally Deutschland.

Intent on building on the momentum gained in Finland, where he was the only driver to consistently challenge the all-conquering VW Polos of Jari-Matti Latvala and World champion Sebastien Ogier, the Dungannon driver is eager to familiarise himself again with tarmac stages.

"It is two years since I last took part in an asphalt rally on potentially dry roads and I have never done one in a Citroen," he said.

"We tested before the Monte Carlo Rally back in January but that was mostly wet and, of course, the rally was wet, wet, wet with a bit of snow thrown in for good measure!

"This test in Germany is going to be crucial in terms of finding a good set-up and getting comfortable with the car. A good test settles you down and builds your confidence."

But after a difficult start to his first season with the Citroen team his confidence has shot up immeasurably after his strong third place in Finland, a performance hailed as outstanding by winner Latvala.

"When I saw Kris's times for the first couple of stages I was like 'Wow, this guy is driving fast'. Last year we also saw that he was driving fast but this time he was also very consistent," said the Finn.

"This was the best drive he has ever done, very fast, very consistent. Outstanding."

It was Meeke's third podium of the season and moved him to sixth in the World championship.

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