Meeke speaks out over lack of support from Citroen

Returning WRC star Kris Meeke has spoken out about a lack of support from certain quarters of his Citroen team and the absence of the kind of feeling he needed to win last year’s Rally Finland.

Meeke speaks out over lack of support from Citroen
Kris Meeke, Paul Nagle, Citroën C3 WRC, Citroën World Rally Team
Kris Meeke, Paul Nagle, Citroën C3 WRC, Citroën World Rally Team
The car of Kris Meeke, Paul Nagle, Citroën C3 WRC, Citroën World Rally Team
Kris Meeke, Paul Nagle, Citroën C3 WRC, Citroën World Rally Team
Kris Meeke, Paul Nagle, Citroën C3 WRC, Citroën World Rally Team
Kris Meeke, Paul Nagle, Citroën C3 WRC, Citroën World Rally Team
Kris Meeke, Citroën C3 WRC, Citroën World Rally Team
Kris Meeke, Paul Nagle, Citroën C3 WRC, Citroën World Rally Team
Kris Meeke, Paul Nagle, Citroën C3 WRC, Citroën World Rally Team
Kris Meeke, Paul Nagle, Citroën C3 WRC, Citroën World Rally Team
Kris Meeke, Paul Nagle, Citroën C3 WRC, Citroën World Rally Team
Kris Meeke, Paul Nagle, Citroën C3 WRC, Citroën World Rally Team
Kris Meeke, Paul Nagle, Citroën C3 WRC, Citroën World Rally Team

Despite Meeke running in the top three on every WRC round he has started in a C3 WRC, Citroen dropped the Rally Mexico winner for Rally Poland after he crashed at the last three rallies.

Meeke has talked for the first time about the frustration his team’s decision caused him.

“It’s a frustrating and difficult situation,” he said. “It’s certainly not a situation I expected, but it is what it is. I’m happy be back in Finland, but it’s frustrating to arrive here with the feeling we have now.

"To fight at the front on this rally, you need to arrive with absolutely no doubt in anything around you, [you need] to have pure commitment and to do what you want to do and I think it’s fair to say that’s not the case this year.

“I don’t feel in the perfect environment to go and do what did last year, but that’s not to say one kilometre into the shakedown stage, that feeling won’t come.”

Asked if he felt supported in the Citroen team, the Northern Irishman replied: “If you’re dropped for an event then there are certain people in the structure that don’t give you the support; that’s fine, I’m here working for Citroen.

"If they feel I’m not doing a good enough job and they want to do what they done, then that’s fine – I’ll go with it. I’ll continue to do what I’m here to do to the best of my ability.”

Meeke admitted he was bemused by the way the story of his season had grown.

“There’s not been one rally this year where I’ve not been able to set competitive times,” he said, “but everybody’s developed this big story that there’s something massively wrong.

"We’ve had certain issues with different problems on different rallies; we’ve had reliability issues and I’ve made mistakes and we’ve had times when the car’s become inconsistent.

“This hasn’t been one rally to the next, but one stage to the next. We seen in Sardinia Craig [Breen, teammate] was near enough [a] fastest time on one stage and then him and Andreas [Mikkelsen] were not able to do it and were plus one minute on the next one.”

No change in style

Meeke admitted a conservative approach wasn’t his style and he wouldn’t be changing that style in Finland this week.

“I’ve had no instruction [about how to drive the rally],” he said. “What can I say? I’m not here to come home in the top 10, shake everybody’s hand and go home with everybody thinking I’m happy.”

As much as missing the last round in Poland undermined his confidence, Meeke admitted a wash-out of a test didn’t help matters either.

“The weather was horrendous in the test,” he said. “We had really, really heavy rain on both days and that made conditions so inconsistent and so difficult to get the feeling in the car. Maybe that’s what’s causing my lack of confidence.”

Team boss welcomes his return

Citroen team principal Yves Matton said he was happy to see Meeke back leading the team in Jyvasklyla.

He told Motorsport.com: “It’s very good to have him back. He won here last year and we know Kris is always at a high pace on this kind of event.

"There is no target for Kris this week, we want him to do the best he can. It’s up to him to do the best he can to bring back the best information for the future.”

Asked if he would prefer Meeke to crash out of the lead on Sunday morning or come home fifth, Matton replied: “Both would be bad. I would prefer for him to be leading on Saturday night and then finish on the podium, but I don’t say where.

“To be fifth would show a rally not at such a good pace and that would not be so interesting.”

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