Meeke: “I have confidence and now I have to use it”

Citroen driver Kris Meeke says his fastest time at Thursday’s Tour of Corsica shakedown has confirmed his confidence in the Toyota Yaris ahead of this week’s fourth round of the WRC.

The Bastia-based event is Meeke’s maiden asphalt outing in the Yaris WRC and a time 0.9 seconds faster than anybody else on the 3.40-mile Sorbo Ocagnano has set the Northern Irishman up perfectly ahead of the Friday morning start.

“I came away from the test and I felt OK with the car, but I had no reference,” Meeke said. “I’d done a one-day test on a single piece of road. I couldn’t tell much and came away not really knowing where I was. 

“Shakedown was good, it’s a stage I know well and I like the stage. I felt confident and really happy with the car straight away.

"I would say I was pleasantly surprised with the shakedown time. I’ve been quickest there in the past, so it wouldn’t necessarily be a surprise to do that again, but the feeling in the car was nice.”

Meeke was quick to add that the focus remains on the three days ahead.

“There are no points for shakedown,” he added, “which is a bit of a bastard given that I’ve been quickest on three of them this year.

“But still, this rally is going to be won by the driver who has the complete package. That means being comfortable in the car and having a real flow with the notes, the new notes from the new stages; it’s about being the driver who had the clean recce and can interpret what they’ve found on the recce best.

“It’s not about the driver who was quickest down a short blast of a stage. I have confidence and now I have to use it.” 

Last year’s Tour of Corsica winner Sebastien Ogier was second quickest and admitted the pace of Meeke and his fellow Toyota man, third-placed Ott Tanak, was a wake-up call.

“We have seen straight away this morning that this rally won’t be a drive in the park,” said Citroen’s defending champion. “The Toyota is very fast and this proves that we have to push as well if we want to win.

"The feeling is good for me and we have usually seen the Citroen strong here – hopefully we can make something nice from the weekend.”

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