Marc van Dalen, the boss of the Kronos Racing team that carried Kris Meeke to the 2009 Intercontinental Rally Challenge title, has tipped Czech driver Jan Kopecky as Meeke's biggest rival for the season ahead.

Kopecky took two wins during the 2009 season - in the Czech Republic and in Spain - to finish second to Meeke in the championship standings at the wheel of his Skoda Fabia.

The Czech ace is likely to start the season opener in Monte Carlo as one of the favourites and van Dalen admitted that he saw Kopecky as one of the main rivals for Peugeot UK driver Meeke as he seeks to defend his crown.

"Apart from Kris, Kopecky is the strongest driver in the IRC," van Dalen said. "He's very fast on every surface so he will be one of the more difficult drivers to beat. At the same time, Juho Hanninen, his team-mate at Skoda, can also be a contender on some occasions."


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