18 November 2005
JWRC: Q&A: Kris Meeke - exclusive.
Colin McRae protege, Kris Meeke is one of Britain's rising rallying stars and he finished third in the Junior World Rally Championship [JWRC] this season. Here, talking exclusively to Crash.net, he reflects on his year - and reveals what he will need to do in 2006 in order to make sure he continues to go forward...
Kris, the season has now come to an end now. How do you feel your year has gone?
To sum it up, it has been a fantastic experience being involved with Citroen - they are such a professional team. The year started off very well in Monte Carlo, we had victory there in the first round of the championship.
But since then - and I have to hold my hands up - I have made a few mistakes, a few costly errors, at important times. We've definitely shown this year we have the pace to lead on every surface and to be fastest, but I just haven't been consistent enough to win the championship.
We ended up third and my team-mate, Dani won the championship, which was good for Citroen obviously, but it is a little disappointing from my point of view. Performance wise this has been my best year. I think we had over 35 fastest times in the Junior WRC over seven events and on every surface we've proven we had the speed. But as I said before, we made some small mistakes at important times and that has proved very costly in terms of the overall championship.
The last two events of the year - in Corsica and Spain - were on asphalt and your team-mate, Daniel Sola did very well to clinch the title. From your point of view though the results weren't quite there you must be disappointed with the way those two events went to finish the season?
I have to look back earlier in the season when we had the advantage on Dani on the gravel events. We had a comfortable lead in Finland and I had made a mistake on the recce in the pace notes and that was a victory that went begging. Dani was there to step in and take the victory.
I always knew it would be tough going into last three rallies on asphalt against Dani, who has been brought up since an early age on asphalt - go karting and driving in the Spanish championship for many years.
So going into Corsica I was quite comfortable to take a second place there and see what we could do in Catalunya. Unfortunately I made a mistake on the second morning on the first stage out. I got caught on a slow section going from second gear to first gear. I locked up on a bit of gravel and it was over in a flash. I can't say anything more than that. I'd love to make excuses - I'd love to do everything! But I simply got caught out and made a mistake. We broke a steering arm and had to stop in the stage and change it losing near 19 minutes, which put us completely out of contention.
It was quite ironic, because two stages later Dani had an engine problem which put him back to third, which in hindsight could have left us with a comfortable victory in Corsica. So, if that had happened, going into the last round in Catalunya then whoever won the rally would have won the championship. It is all 'ifs and buts' though and at the end of the day it didn't happen. I have only myself to blame.
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