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Troubled Citroen Racing team driver, Kris Meeke, was the winner of Neste Rally Finland 12 months ago, but was dropped from his team for the event before this year’s Finnish WRC event.  

With the team confirming Kris’ continued position in the team till the end of 2018, he told Colin Clark at WRC Live Radio about his problems before the 2017 event.  

“It is a strange situation.  A frustrating situation and a difficult one and it’s one I didn’t anticipate.  But it is what it is and we’re here and happy to be back in Finland, but it is frustrating to arrive here with the feeling we have now.  

“In Finland, to fight at the front you need absolutely no doubts and pure commitment to do what you want to do.  I think it is fair to say that is not the case this year.

“On my (pre-rally) test here the weather was horrendous, but I had some really heavy rain showers throughout the two days.  It was really inconsistent to drive.

CC: In Poland it seemed more important for the team just to finish.  What is your instruction for this event, is it to finish or is it push for the win?

KM: I’ve no instruction.  I am not here to pop round, shake everyone’s hand and go home and everyone thinks you’re happy.  There’s not one rally this year I’ve not been able to set competitive times.  

“Everyone’s developed this big story that there’s something massively wrong.  We’ve had certain issues this year.  We’ve had a lot of different problems on different rallies.  We’ve had reliability issues, I’ve made mistakes and we’ve had times when the car’s become a little bit inconsistent.  And that’s not even one rally to the next, one stage to the next.  

“We’ve seen in Sardinia Craig (Breen) was able to be close to a fastest time then on the next stage, both he and Andreas (Mikkelsen) were over one minute behind and they backed off because they couldn’t beat it.  

“If I go out and have a good feeling I’m going to drive it to the best of my ability.  If that sets the fastest time that doesn’t mean I’m over pushing.  To some people in the team that tells its own story, but I’ll continue what I do, try and get a feeling with the car and drive to the best of my ability.

CC:  Do you feel you’re getting the support you need at this time to pull yourself through it?

KM: Well obviously if you’re dropped for an event there’s certain people within the structure that don’t give you the support.  I’m here to work for Citroen.  If they feel I’m not doing a good enough job at times and they want to do what they’ve done that’s fine, I go with it.  But like I say, I’ll continue to do what I’m here to do, which is do it to the best of my ability.

CC:  What is your feeling about the team bringing Sebastien Loeb to test the car on tarmac?

KM: No idea, you need to ask somebody else.  I have only read that one hour ago so I’ve no idea.  I don’t know if Seb’s coming just for enjoyment or what is the story.  

“For sure, right from the very beginning when I knew the project was coming, I pushed for someone strong, didn’t necessarily have to be relevant driver, we’ve seen Marcus Gronholm or Carlos Sainz do the job for Volkswagen over the years.  

“I pushed strongly for that in the beginning but it didn’t happen, but for sure Sebastien’s the best world rally driver there has ever been.  He’s got the most amount of experience, he’s still relevant for sure because he’s still been competing in other forms of motorsport, so I welcome anyone coming to drive the car with that capability for sure, where he can add something.

<image Citroen eating: Meeke talks with Matton - Citroen Racing image. 2177 Kris Meeke, 2169 Andreas Mikkelsen  both Holmes images>
- Martin Holmes

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