Citroen's Kris Meeke believes a podium is a "realistic goal" on Rallye Deutschland, although he admits "anything can happen".

Meeke could have won in Germany twelve months ago, and briefly held the lead after Jari-Matti Latvala crashed out in the first test on the final day. However, he then joined the Finn on the sidelines in the following test, when he hit a wall and ripped off the left rear wheel.

This season he has managed to bag his maiden WRC victory after coming out top in Argentina, but after three successive crashes in Sardinia, Poland and Finland - the last event - is back under pressure and dearly in need of a good result to help secure his seat with the team in 2016.

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"I can't wait to get started," Meeke said ahead of the ninth round in the 2015 World Rally Championship. "Rallye Deutschland is an event that I particularly enjoy.

"Last year, we were on the pace. For my first race on tarmac in the DS 3 WRC, I had found the confidence to push very quickly. The car is just incredible on this surface. I hope that the experience I'm accumulating at each round will help me to be among the frontrunners again."

Meeke concedes, however, that the weather could play a key role in the outcome of the event: "I'd prefer it to be hot and dry, although the weather is always very difficult to predict in this region. If it rains, the early runners drag a lot of mud on the lines and it becomes more difficult.

"Finishing on the podium here is a realistic goal though. If I manage to be consistent and keep out of trouble, I know that we'll be at the front.

"But anything can happen!"

Meanwhile, Citroen boss Yves Matton has reiterated that Meeke and team-mate, Mads Ostberg will be free to do their own race.

"Rallye Deutschland marks the start of the run-in and the return to tarmac after two very fast gravel rallies. It's a radical change of setting and surface and it's also a very special event for Citroen Racing, one where we have enjoyed a lot of success over the years," Matton stated.

"The team has an awful lot of experience here. This first round of the season on tarmac will give us the chance to assess the progress of the DS 3 WRC on this surface. Kris and Mads will be free to choose their strategy for the race. Kris has already shown his potential on asphalt, especially in Germany, and Mads is continuing to make progress on tarmac."