Abu Dhabi Total World Rally Team‘s Kris Meeke made the perfect start to his 2016 season by setting fastest time in shakedown for the Rallye Monte-Carlo and despite the conditions being too difficult to make a prediction for the rest of the weekend the Northern Irishman is confident with the Citroen DS3 WRC. Meeke will only be contesting selected events on the 2016 calendar ahead of a full campaign next year.
“Although the shakedown isn’t very important, I was pleased to get back into the car in competitive conditions!”, said the Northern Irishman, “The road wasn’t very representative of the rest of the rally; it was very narrow and became covered with mud very quickly. I felt confident, with a good feeling and my times were pretty good.
“Everything’s fine for the moment, but it’s just the start of what is likely to be a very difficult week! There was a lot of snow during recce but it has melted since then and we don’t really know what the conditions will be like in the rally itself. It’ll be especially difficult tomorrow evening, with the opening two stages being held after dark.”
Meeke’s teammate Stephane Lefebvre was frustrated that conditions prevented him from determining where he was in the pecking order in terms of pace and expects to spend the first few stages adjusting to the conditions.
“We were among the first crews to set off on the shakedown and the road was already pretty tricky.” said Lefebvre “Compared with recce, which we did on the snow, it was a totally new experience! We made a few modifications after the second run, but the conditions had changed again and so we didn’t really learn a great deal.
“When all is said and done, it’s difficult to know how I compare with the others. I’m pleased with the work we did during recce. I already knew a good portion of the stages, so that made things easier. Everything is going well so far with Gabin in the co-driver’s seat, but I’m expecting us to need some time to adjust once the race gets underway.”
The event gets underway with the start ceremony in Monaco this evening.