13 September 2013
Rally Australia: It has been a very positive day, says Meeke
Kris Meeke: Despite my lack of experience, I'm not far behind Mikko and that's good news for the team...
Citroen guest driver Kris Meeke continued to impress on Rally Australia on Friday, concluding the leg just 0.5 seconds off third place.
Meeke, who was quickest in qualifying on Thursday and who consequently earned the right to go tenth in the order (and last of the WRC runners), capitalised on his superior road position this morning, to finish the loop second overall, 8.8 seconds behind VW's Sebastien Ogier.
The Brit struggled a bit on the second runs in the afternoon and slipped behind Citroen team-mate, Mikko Hirvonen, although he remained in front of Thierry Neuville, until stalling at the start of SS10, the day's second run through the Coffs super special, and the final test of the day.
“I tried to make the most of running in tenth position on the road [this morning],” Meeke reflected. “This was my first day with this kind of set-up. It [the DS3 WRC] was fantastic to drive, although I still feel like I'm learning about the car.
“I didn't take any risks, but that didn't prevent me from hitting a massive stone that was pulled out in the middle of the road on SS5. I thought I had broken the steering, but thankfully it's a strong car and I'm still here!”
“Then I stalled at the start of SS10 and that cost me ten seconds or so. It's a shame, but I'm only five tenths off third place and it shouldn't detract from what has been a very positive day,” he added.
“I found the second loop more difficult than the first loop, because the grip levels had changed quite a lot. In certain sections, there was a kind of powder on the surface that meant the road was very slippery. Despite my lack of experience though, I'm not far behind Mikko and that's good news for the team.”
Hirvonen meanwhile finished the day second overall, 20 seconds off the lead and 18.1 seconds up on Neuville: “I'm pleased with today, although the leader has built up a gap a little bit quicker than I thought he would. We'll have to push hard tomorrow,” Hirvonen admitted.
“More generally, it's good for the team that both cars are proving to be competitive. Kris did a very good job and we have the potential to secure an excellent overall result this weekend [which will help us in our battle in the Manufacturers' championship with VW]."
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