Meeke wary as he faces up to 'ultimate rally challenge'
It is called the 'rally of the 10,000 corners' and Kris Meeke is wary of every one of them. He says the Tour de Corse is the toughest tarmac rally in the World championship and, although buoyed up by his dramatic Rally Mexico victory, the Dungannon driver is making no predictions of a repeat success for his Citroën team.
"For me, this rally is the ultimate tarmac challenge and I can't say I come into it full of confidence," he said ahead of the start in Ajaccio this evening. "I'm pleased with the work done in testing and I know we have a good car. But the rally itself? We'll see if we can get close to our full potential."
Corsica offers a unique challenge, corner after corner on the mountain roads with barely a straight between them. It has not been kind to Meeke in the past although he set several fastest times last year including winning the final Power Stage after an early crash.
He is still reminded of his last stage excursion into a car park in Mexico, an incident which could have cost him his fourth WRC victory.
But Meeke shrugs it off, saying: "It was a crazy finish in Mexico but that's life. I tend not to do things the easy way. It was a bit of a blip but the outcome was good and we move on."
Mexico marked an important turnaround in his and Citroën's fortunes. There were serious concerns when their new C3 car proved unpredictable on the ice of Monte Carlo and the snow of Sweden. On the rough gravel of Mexico it was right on the pace and Meeke dominated.
Now the terrain switches to the abrasive, twisty tarmac of Corsica where Meeke will have both Craig Breen and Stephane Lefebrve backing him up in C3s for the first time. But will the earlier suspension woes return to haunt them?
Meeke points out they had four productive days testing in Corsica where they had Swedish suspension specialists Ohlins on hand to help them identity their earlier problems. Yet he remains wary, although team boss Yves Matton expects him to be competing at the front alongside the likes of Ford's Sebastien Ogier and Hyundai's Thierry Neuville.