Kris Meeke says the “main goal” this weekend on the mixed-surface RallyRACC Catalunya-Costa Daurada will be to help Citroen consolidate second in the Manufacturers' Championship.
Meeke finished fourth in Corsica earlier this month and with team-mate Mads Ostberg coming home sixth, the French manufacturer moved back ahead of Hyundai, albeit by only one point.
Speaking ahead of the penultimate round in the 2015 World Rally Championship, Meeke added that a podium should be possible, providing he has a trouble-free run, something he didn't get twelve months ago, as a double puncture in SS3, while running second, dashed his hopes of a good result.
“I really like the idea of a rally made up of one day on gravel and two days on tarmac. Although I don't know the gravel stages very well, the roads are very beautiful. Since we start later on Friday morning, we should avoid any problems due to the dust. On asphalt, the route is fantastic,” Meeke said.
“Last year, we were very competitive and the DS 3 WRC was perfect. We only lost out on a big result after picking up two punctures [in SS3].
“The new stages mean we'll have to work on our pace notes, but if we have a trouble-free weekend, then a podium should be a realistic target. The real goal though is to consolidate our second place in the manufacturers' standings.”
Ostberg is also pretty confident, especially for the opening day on gravel: “The course for this rally provides a unique challenge. After the Tour de Corse on tarmac, we took part in some testing on gravel so we should be well prepared to drive on both surfaces. The stages on day one are pretty similar to what we have seen here before. There are some great gravel roads. This leg will obviously be vital in making a good start to the race, but all three days will be just as important as each other,” he remarked.
“On gravel, I always look to finish on the podium. We'll need to get among the leaders at the start, whilst remaining sufficiently competitive on tarmac to stay among the frontrunners. Obviously, a podium finish would be an excellent result!”
Meanwhile, Khalid Al Qassimi and Stephane Lefebvre will also be in action in DS 3 WRCs, alongside Meeke and Ostberg.
“We are continuing to learn about rallying at this level with a very specific event,” Lefebvre said. “On gravel, we'll have a good starting position. I'd like to drive like we did in Australia. The aim is to have a good race and keep out of trouble.
“We'll then have to adjust to the tarmac very quickly. The roads suit me a bit more than those on the Tour de Corse, with more natural bends and technical sections offering more track-style driving.
“Given the substantial experience of the other drivers, we'll have to try to set a good pace and take full advantage of the new stages.”