Kris Meeke says road and weather conditions at Wales Rally GB will play a pivotal role in the result with those first in the running order gaining the biggest advantage of the season.
The Abu Dhabi Total WRT Citroen squad is set to make its final competitive outing of 2016 ahead of its return as a full factory effort next year at Wales Rally GB, with Meeke confirming he only landed an entry at his home event after Rally China was cancelled earlier this season.
Meeke has also stated his ninth place in the running order will make adding to his two WRC wins this year extremely difficult with the eight cars ahead of him turning up mud and greasy surfaces which will slow the cars.
With the revised running order procedure introduced in 2015 where the championship leaders start first on Friday and Saturday being heavily criticised by lead drivers for making conditions unfair, Meeke feels the reserve effect will kick in at Wales Rally GB with drivers later on the road having harder conditions to contend against.
“Last year, I secured a good result with second place, but we all know that the weather and the running order are more important in Wales than anywhere else,� Meeke said. “Obviously, the first car has an enormous advantage. Once the racing lines become covered with a layer of greasy, slippery mud, it doesn't budge.
"Bearing in mind that we're ninth on the road, it's likely to be very difficult for us.�
Despite this, Meeke is still relishing the challenge of his home event and final rally of 2016 before switching full focus on to next season ahead of the regulation revamp.
“Wales Rally GB wasn't initially part of my schedule, but the cancellation of Rally China means I'm able to take part and I'm delighted to do so,� he said. “All the stages are special in some way, but I particularly like Hafren, which we are going to contest in the opposite direction for the first time.
“For my final appearance of the year, I'll be trying to enjoy driving the car as much as possible and hopefully take some momentum into 2017.�