Meeke guarded about Rally Australia prospects

Gordon Lomas

Thursday 11th September, 2014 - 3:54pm

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Citroen's Kris Meeke guarded about Rally Australia prospects

Citroen’s Kris Meeke guarded about Rally Australia prospects

Citroen Total Abu Dhabi factory driver Kris Meeke is not making any rash predictions ahead of Coates Hire Rally Australia starting tomorrow.

Meeke saw a maiden victory slip from his grasp at the business end of the German rally last month when he crashed out of contention in the DS3.

The Northern Irishman is returning to the Coffs Harbour-based round of the World Rally Championship where he suffered a huge rollover crash on the monster Nambucca stage (49.9km) last year.

Meeke was only a part-timer at the event last year and feels his fitness let him down after ripping two wheels off his car and rolling seven times.

“I was quite fast at the beginning but I hadn’t the stamina to do it for the whole weekend,” Meeke explained.

“I think it was lack of match practice. I think I’m a heck of a lot more prepared to sustain it over a whole weekend.”

Meeke, who with co-driver Paul Nagle topped the pre-event shakedown, avoided specific answers about his possible winning or podium chances at Rally Australia.

“We all think we can win one day but I think I have to concentrate on my own performance,” Meeke said.

“Here last year it was a one-off opportunity and I probably took on too much pressure.

“It’s technically a very difficult rally. The colour of the road and colour of the trees are pretty much the same. It’s very hard to pick out the road.

“And then there is the sunlight coming through the trees and some dust from the cars before.

“It makes it a big challenge to even see the road at times.

“If you make a mistake in some other rallies you go into a ditch or something here it is a tree.”

Meeke is eighth in the driver’s standings on 54 points with the championship headed by reigning WRC king Sebastien Ogier (Volkswagen) who has a 44-point lead over team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala.