Kris Meeke may not have as much experience of his 'home' event as some of his World Rally Championship rivals, but he is determined to get the best result possible from Wales Rally GB as Citroen tries to cling onto second spot in the manufacturers' championship.
Running alongside regular team-mates Mads Østberg and Jonas Andersson, Meeke and co-driver Paul Nagle will spearhead the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team's efforts in the Welsh finale and, having finished sixth on the road last year, the Irishman is hoping to go better still in 2015. With five podiums between them, including a one-two finish in Argentina, Meeke and Østberg have Citroen four points clear of Hyundai in the standings, but all that could change on one of the most unpredictable events of the year.
Wales Rally GB retains all of its usual characteristics, with rain, fog and mud among the essentials ingredients as grip levels change on the stages – and from one stage to the next - as more cars complete their runs. For Meeke, competing in Wales is almost like a home event, and holds special significance as he contested his first ever rally in the region, but he is taking nothing for granted as he seeks to close the gap on his team-mate in the drivers' standings.
“This is more or less my home rally and there'll be lots of supporters out for us,” Meeke confirmed, “I took part in my very first rally in these forests, so they are very familiar to me and I have my bearings on these roads. Having said that, though, I don't have as much experience at this event as the drivers who have competed here for the last ten years.
“I love the region and the course, with a surface that can be muddy and slippery. It's cold and dark, but it all adds to the special atmosphere of this race. Inside the car, you sometimes get the feeling you're fighting the elements and that just makes it even more fun to drive. We know what we have to do to finish second in the championship, so we have to try and finish in front of our rivals and, if possible, on the podium.”