Kris Meeke says success in the 2017 WRC season opener Rallye Monte Carlo will be down to staying relaxed and having confidence in Citroen's new challenger as the series prepares for a new era.
With the regulations revamp upping engine power and expanding aerodynamic packages, the WRC cars will be radically different for 2017, as has been seen during the final pre-event tests for Rallye Monte Carlo.
Meeke ended the Shakedown considerably off the pace of leader Ogier but shrugged it off as Citroen looked to conserve its tyre allocation for when it matters during the rally which starts on Thursday night (19th January).
With Citroen and Meeke making their full-time comeback to WRC with the new regulations, the Northern Irish driver is confident in the team's preparations with its new C3 WRC machine and is relishing a potential title challenge.
“We're happy with the work we've done. I believe we're in good shape although of course, you can never know for sure,” Meeke said. “Now it's time to knuckle down and let's see what we can do.
“There are a lot of people getting really excited on the eve of this new season and it's up to me to stay relaxed and keep my focus on the job ahead. I'm looking forward to it.
“The final pre-event test was good, although we didn't get the conditions we'd been hoping for. We wanted ice and it only just started to snow just as we were finished in the evening. But no matter; you have to plan your tests and you can't predict the weather.”
Sebastien Ogier in the M-Sport Ford topped the Rallye Monte Carlo Shakedown ahead of former team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen, who is competing in WRC-2 for Skoda, with his new M-Sport team-mate Ott Tanak rounding out the top three.