Junior World Rally Championship star Kris Meeke knows it will be a case of all or nothing on this weekend's Wales Rally GB, as he bids to sign off a frustrating campaign in victorious style.

The Ulsterman has been one of the series' leading lights for the past couple of seasons, but a run of bad luck has prevented him from making the most of his strong form and title opportunities have fallen by the wayside. Although he does still retain a small mathematical chance of lifting the crown in the final round of the year, he knows the destiny of the title is no longer in his own hands and all he can now do is win the rally and hope for the best. Despite a troubled start in his Citroen C2, the initial signs are looking good.

"On the first stage we had a puncture with seven kilometres to go," he told Crash.net at the service area near Swansea. "That lost us nearly a minute to the fastest time. On the second stage we also had a puncture, this time on the rear, but that was only with three kilometres to go. Then we had a clean run on the third stage and the other guys seemed to have problems and we ended up leading by 25 seconds."

Despite his early advantage, Meeke has been afflicted by misfortune enough times in the past not to take anything for granted, especially in the unpredictable Welsh forests in winter.

"You can't be confident in these conditions," he said. "It's tricky, slippery and very challenging, especially when the fog comes down and you can't see the road. That makes it difficult to read the level of grip. On some of the fast sections you need to know what grip you have for braking and the fast corners. It's not easy at all.

"The world rally cars are pulling up some big stones and sometimes inadvertently making chicanes for us which we have to try and avoid, and with all the stones punctures will come into play again I'm sure."

Rain may be forecast for much of the remainder of the weekend, but the 27-year-old said given the weather in the run-up to the event, any more precipitation was unlikely to make very much difference.

"The stages are so wet anyway it doesn't matter," he explained. "It's been raining heavily all week and there's lots of mud and standing water. I don't think the rain will destroy the stages any more than they have been already.

"There is a long way to go but the car is performing well and if we have a clean run I know we can win the rally. We have known for two years that the car is capable of winning all these rallies, but we just have to contend with the conditions and make the best out of it."

Looking back on his year to date, Meeke said although his results on paper made for fairly dispiriting reading, he at least had the encouragement of having proved he has the pace - if not the luck - to take the crown.

"We started this year as last wanting to be champions," he said. "Unfortunately things haven't gone our way for different reasons. We are here now incredibly still in with a chance of taking the title, but all I can do is try and win the rally and see what the others do.

"It's been a very frustrating season. Looking at the performance side of it we have been comfortably fastest on every rally, but being fastest alone doesn't get you points and points are what we are after."

 

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