Following a promising, if ultimately unrewarding, debut on the Monte Carlo Rally, Peugeot UK and Kris Meeke have confirmed that they will contest the next round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge in Brazil early next month.
The Monte clearly showed that Meeke will be a force to be reckoned with in this year's IRC, as he set the fastest time on his first stage on snow, and held second place overall before a puncture dropped him down the leaderboard. Although a crash on the final day the left the Kronos-prepared Peugeot 207 S2000 badly damaged, Meeke had provided good indications of his speed, and expects to be a frontrunner in Brazil.
Kronos has not had enough time to repair the car before its equipment had to be shipped to Brazil for the 5-7 March event in Curitiba, but Meeke will not lose out, as he has been handed the machine that Sebastian Ogier took to victory on the Monte instead. A new car will be built for the Briton for the next round in Belgium.
"It is no problem for Kris to drive the Ogier car because all the Kronos prepared cars are the same specification, so it will be easy for him to change cars," said team principal Marc van Dalen, "It may even provide him with some good luck because it is not only the car Ogier used to win Monte Carlo, but it is also the same one that Juho Hanninen used to win Rally Russia."
Meeke has already started his personal preparation for Brazil, with a three-day test with Peugeot Sport in France providing valuable time in the car on gravel stages and working with his engineers to understand further the Peugeot 207 S2000.
The Rally de Curitiba will be contested over 234km of gravel stages, including one 23km special, with the finishing ceremony taking place at Curitiba's race circuit, which plays host to the World Touring Car Championship - jointly organised by the IRC promoter Eurosport Events - the same weekend.