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...

Q:
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?

Kris Meeke:
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.

Q:
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?

KM:
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.

Q:
How are you going to approach the last two rounds? You need a win in Corsica, don't you?

KM:
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.

Q:
Prior to those final two Junior WRC events, you are going to do the Wales Rally GB - and in a World Rally Car. You must be looking forward to that?

KM:
Yeah, it is a fantastic opportunity. My first priority this year is the Junior WRC with Citroen but, with Rally GB not in the [Junior] championship, it left us an opportunity to get out in a World Rally Car. For me, it will be a big opportunity, but something I have to take and treat with respect and see if can do a solid job. Then we'll see how we go during the rally.

Q:
You're going to use a Subaru Impreza WRC, aren't you?

KM:
Yeah, it is an F10 Subaru - which is a 2004 specification car. Okay, it is going to be something a bit different from the Junior cars we have been driving but I think, as Sebastien Loeb and Francois Duval and all these guys have proven, that the driving styles... you can adapt quite quickly after having driven in the Junior WRC competitively. I think I should be able to adapt quite quickly, but we will just have to sip it and see.

Q:
Any tests planned prior to the big event?

KM:
We have just one day's testing this week so... obviously, you can never have enough testing, you can never have enough miles. Unfortunately, we have only got one day before the rally, but we will have to make use of it and bed ourselves in. I don't think we can have any too big expectations.

Q:
I was going to say what is your target for the event? Do you just want to get to the finish?

KM:
I am planning not to set myself any targets other than... ...you know, you can't really do that having only done a one-day test in a World Rally Car. It is unrealistic to set targets - especially when I don't know what to expect. So I am just planning on driving to the best of my ability and we will see where we end up.

In the Junior WRC, I can go to rallies and set myself targets as know what I am capable of in the car but, at the minute, I don't know exactly what I am capable of in a World Rally Car first time out. It is very hard to make any predictions.

Q:
Of course, as well as yourself doing Rally GB, Guy Wilks, one of your rivals in the JWRC, will be doing it too. And, of course, Colin McRae is going to be out as well in the Skoda. That's a boost for the event, isn't it?

KM:
Yeah, it is fantastic to... ...I think myself and Guy are coming up through the ranks and it gives the home fans something to cheer about. And obviously Colin coming back in - it will be good for everyone to see him back out, and I think he is looking forward to it. It should be a good spectacle.

Q:
Looking ahead, can you reveal anything about your plans for 2006?

KM:
Nothing at the moment - absolutely nothing. I am just keeping my head down. I take each rally as it comes, each stage as it comes, and each corner as it comes. But 2006 is a long way away. It is not going to be easy for anybody but, for sure, I'm doing everything possible to try and put myself in a position to get stay driving within the WRC. That's the plan.

Q:
Is there any chance you will do any other extra WRC rounds this year? Japan? Australia?

KM:
Not at the moment. Okay, we will look at every opportunity we can. But, at the moment, we will be at GB, obviously, in a World Rally car and then Corsica and Catalunya in the Junior WRC, and nothing else outside that at the moment.

Q:
Cheers Kris, and best of luck on the Rally GB and, of course, in the JWRC.

KM:
No problem. I'm just going to take some money off Guy Wilks now at a game of golf here! We are just teeing up!