After being dumped from the Citroen team mid-way through 2018, Kris Meeke will make his debut for Toyota at the upcoming Monte Carlo Rally. At the WRC launch last weekend, the Irishman gave Martin Holmes his thoughts on his new steed - the Yaris WRC.
“First impressions when I tested the car in Finland a few days after I signed for them was that he car was really impressive, I have to say.
"I had expected it to be good there as it had been developed in Finland and had won the last two editions of Rally Finland. It gave me the confidence. "Now I have done two days test for Monte Carlo and everything feels strong. The package feels together, with every part complimenting each other - a new experience for me. "I'm excited to be part of a team that's a hundred percent committed. Their sole target is to keep on improving the car and make it as fast as possible.

Kris Meeke is buoyant about the 2019 WRC that lies ahead. Photo: Martin Holmes

"We've seen that Ott Tanak’s performance in the last part of last season was simply incredible, his speed was phenomenal. That gives me the confidence to know the car's working everywhere.
"I'm excited and intrigued to get the season started. I could trust everything that was beneath me. I simply want to get my season up and running.
"Testing a car feels different than it does in competition, but certainly my initial feelings of the Yaris gives me a lot of confidence. Like I say, if I can just enjoy my driving I'm certain the results will come.” Tommi (Makinen) said at the end of last year (2018) that he was impressed by your experience in developing rally cars. “I have a lot of experience developing cars, even cars in R5 and R2 and everything, but at certain moments you can only develop with what you've got. "When I was involved with the Citroen C3 project, you could learn a lot more in the more difficult times than you do in the good times. If you happen to get everything right straight away, you know you've done a good job.   "But if we get it wrong and you have to search for the answers, then you start to learn a lot more. There are certain things I learnt a lot about. "The Toyota seems to be quite well sorted as it is. I still have to test in all different terrains and for sure, with Toyota's commitment, with Tommi's influence and everything, I'm sure we can continue to improve the car. My agreement is for one year.” Will you miss your old friend Paul Nagle sitting beside you? “Yes. I have to say a big thanks to Paul. Paul had been with me 11 years. I spent more time with Paul than I have done with my wife/partner over the last 10 years. "Parting wasn't an easy decision to make and handle, but I wanted a fresh start if I got the opportunity.
"I had my eye on Seb (Sebastian Marshall) since the middle of last season. I could see his abilities within the car and when I was able to team up with him he gladly accepted.
"(It's) a new atmosphere in the car. "I've done a couple of tests with him now, we've been out practising making some notes and he's a really switched on guy, clever guy, motivated. Just looking to get started. I'm sure he's going to do a good job.”  

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