(21/1/2014) KRIS Meeke believes his third place finish on Rallye Monte-Carlo marked a major step forward in his career as a full-time FIA World Rally Championship driver.
The 34-year-old failed to finish two rallies with Citroen last season – including Coates Hire Rally Australia – and faced an uncertain future. But Citroen team principal Yves Matton – pictured above with Meeke – showed faith in the Briton by handing him a full WRC programme in 2014.
Meeke, like his new teammate Mads Ostberg, delivered a near-perfect performance in Rallye Monte-Carlo to finish in third place, just less than two minutes behind Sebastien Ogier’s rally-winning pace.
“I think I’ve proven to everyone that I can drive a rally now,” Meeke said.
“Last year when I got my opportunities I maybe forced the pace to make everyone aware that I was still capable.
“But I knew once I got my opportunity of a full season I could relax and make no mistakes. If I can do this rally with no mistakes, I can do any rally.”
Matton was pleased with the performance of both his drivers on Rallye Monte-Carlo.
“Kris did 100 percent what I asked of him. He showed last year that he has the speed, but he had some points to work on for sure. But this is a great first step,” Matton said.
Matton confirmed that Meeke and co-driver Paul Nagle will be asked to deliver another sensible approach on the upcoming Swedish Rally, an event Meeke has not contested before. Ostberg, meanwhile, will be expected to use his snow experience to push for a podium finish.