by Rob Wilkins
Citroen C2 driver Kris Meeke is one of Britain's rising rallying stars, along with Guy Wilks, and both are hotly tipped to emulate the likes of Colin McRae and Richard Burns in the not to distant future.
Here, speaking exclusively to Crash.net Radio as part of our build-up to Wales Rally GB, Meeke, who will be making his debut in a World Rally Car on that event, gives his thoughts on stepping up and his bid to win the Junior title...
Kris, we've just had the Rallye Deutschland, a promising result for you there, finishing second, especially as it was your first time competing on the event?
Yeah, it was my first time in Germany, but I am quite a competitive person and, when you are in a battle for the lead, you always like to come out on top. Unfortunately, it didn't happen in Germany.
I think the big thing you can take away is that my team-mate, Daniel Sordo, is renowned as tarmac expert and he was the man to beat. We battled with him all rally, and we had eight fastest stage times each. To go into the last four stages with only six seconds separating us, it is fair to say it was close. Okay, so we punctured on SS16, so we didn't fight right until the end but, overall, it was a fantastic result for Citroen to bring the C2 home with a one-two.
As you mentioned there, your team-mate Daniel Sordo won in the C2, and he is five points ahead of you in the Junior championship. In light of his experience with the C2 on asphalt, the final two events in Corsica and Spain are going to be tough, aren't they?
Yeah, he is very quick and, unfortunately, I have given him two victories this year - in Sardinia, I was leading and I made a mistake and he won the rally, and, in Finland, I made another mistake while leading and he went on to win the rally. I've given him a few points this year, so I can't really complain about him being in front.
I just have to get my head down now, I think. We have proved this year that we can go to any event and be competitive - it's fantastic for the C2, its first time in Junior WRC. We've gone to every rally with the possibility of winning, so that's good. There is still everything to play for in the championship, and I know only to well that anything can happen at any given moment, so we just have to keep ourselves in there and in the hunt.
How are you going to approach the last two rounds? You need a win in Corsica, don't you?
I have to go with victory in mind. I think we proved in Germany that we have the pace to win on asphalt, and I don't see any there is any reason why we can't do it in Corsica. It is a tricky event, and I have never been there before, so it is going to be a tough battle with Daniel again, because he did the rally last year in a Group N car and was very quick. But I have to go with one thing in mind - to come away with the best result possible.