Kris Meeke has praised the strength of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge as he prepares to take part in a full season in the series in 2009.
Meeke will drive a Peugeot 207 S2000 entered by Peugeot UK and run by the championship-winning Kronos Racing team, with the Monte Carlo Rally marking his first rally outing in an S2000 machine.
That event will see Meeke going up against the likes of Sebastien Ogier, Didier Auriol, Stephane Sarrazin and WRC stalwart Toni Gardemeister and Meeke said the Monte Carlo entry was an indication of the growing strength of the IRC series.
"The Monte Carlo entry says it all," he said. "You have four factory Peugeots, four factory Fiats, two factory Skodas and semi-factory output from Volkswagen. It's very, very exciting and just to be part of it I have to be grateful.
"The championship for me is a breath of fresh air. It's a lot more open; they are allowing events to get back to what they used to be. Monte Carlo is back to a traditional style event, big road sections and covering all the terrain they used to cover. And it's going to exciting new places like Brazil, but still keeping the tradition of events like San Remo."
Meeke added that praise had to be given to series promoters Eurosport
, who will provide six hours of live coverage of the Monte Carlo rally alone during the coming year.
"It's a fascinating place to be and there's such a buzz about it and I think that's down to Eurosport
, the promoters," he said. "They are able to give it as much air time as they desire on the spots channel and for Monte Carlo alone they will have an unprecedented six hours of live television. The promotion is there and everything is right so now I have to knuckle down, work hard make the most of the opportunity."