PHOTO: Kris Meeke needs to impress his Citroen team boss Yves Matton (right) in Australia (Citroen Racing pic)
CITROEN driver Kris Meeke is targeting a trouble-free Coates Hire Rally Australia to help save his place in the French team next year.
The fast but crash-prone Northern Irishman is being assessed by Citroen Racing boss Yves Matton and Australia may be his last chance to impress, WRC.com reports.
“All I can do is continue to drive my best. We’ll decide our strategy out in Australia when we get a sense of the rhythm and the feeling on the stages,” Meeke said after the recent ADAC Rallye Germany, where he crashed for the second time in two events.
When not crashing, Meeke has been regularly the driver most able to challenge the dominant Volkswagens,
In Germany he recovered to finish second in the Power Stage and 12th overall, but says he accepts he has more to do to secure his future.
“I have paid heavily for the little mistakes I have made on the last two rallies. On both occasions it could so easily have been a case of putting the car in gear and going again, but no,” he said.
“That doesn’t take away from the fact that I’ve had those little mistakes. I just have to eliminate them and everything will be good.”
Meeke described his fourth place in last year’s Coates Hire Rally Australia behind a Volkswagen 1-2-3 as the best in his career to date.
It was in sharp contrast to his 2013 performance. On his debut for Citroen’s full works team he was running as high as fourth on Saturday before rolling his DS3 seven times down an embankment on Nambucca stage.
Team mechanics repaired the car, allowing him to re-start for the final day, but he retired again after destroying the right-rear suspension late in the final stage.
Matton said after the Saturday crash: “At service this afternoon I told Kris to keep the pace, to stay not too far from Thierry [Neuville] and we would see tomorrow whether we try to catch him or not. For sure, I am not happy. He did not do what I asked him. This is just the opposite what I ask him.”
Meeke redeemed his image with a maiden WRC victory in Argentina this year, but again drew the ire of Matton for subsequent mishaps in Italy, Poland, Finland and Germany.
After Poland, Matton told Autosport.com Meeke needed to do more to justify a 2016 drive.
“This puts him in the position that he needs to do more results in the second half of the season if he wants a seat in a Citroen next year,” Matton said.
“I won’t decide who drives until after the last rally.
“In two rallies, he completely destroyed his victory.
“It’s up to Kris now to do the job. We have done our part, now he has to do what he wants to do and know what he wants to do.”