Kris Meeke is confident he will hit the ground running when he gives the newly-developed Citroen C3 WRC its much anticipated debut on the Rallye Monte Carlo this week.
Having only participated in selected events last year as it focused its attentions on developing its replacement for the successful DS3, Citroen returns to the World Rally Championship in a full factory capacity with Meeke heading up a three-man line-up for the opener alongside Stephane Lefebvre and Craig Breen.
With the Monte Carlo Rally set to herald the first event for the WRC under the latest set of regulations, Meeke believes the time Citroen has spent on bringing the C3 up to standard will see him challenging at the front from the first stage.
"We're getting close to the point where should be ready to start a rally in the best possible conditions! After our last test sessions, I can't wait to move onto the next stage. I have the feeling that we'll be in the spotlight here, but I hope I can concentrate on my driving.
“It's never easy to compete at Monte-Carlo. At each service, we'll need to put our heads together to come up with the right – or the least wrong – tyre choice. People have no idea of the mountains of work done during test sessions to acquire data and then work out whether a given option is the right one.
“In this area, Citroën Racing has a great deal of experience that I can make use of. For this first rally, my aim is pretty simple: stay relaxed and enjoy myself in the car. They do say, and rightly so, that anything can happen at Monte-Carlo.”
Meeke participated in only seven rallies last season but was still a two-time winner with successes in Portugal and Finland. The Briton was a contender for victory on the Monte Carlo too but was forced to retire after damage sustained when striking a rock in the centre of the road.