The Abu Dhabi Total World Rally Team travel to Scandinavia for round two of the 2016 FIA World Rally Championship, Rally Sweden, with three cars as they bid to carry on their impressive form in Monte Carlo.
The team, which will contest the event with Citroen DS3 WRCs have a mixture of experience and new talent with them this weekend.
Kris Meeke impressed with his pace in Monte Carlo. The Northern Irishman was the only one able to match the pace of world champion Sebastien Ogier but lacks experience in Sweden. Meeke has a lot of experience on his shoulders and with no real pressure on him this year he will hope to use that to his advantage.
“It’s true that I don’t have a lot of experience in Sweden, but this is one of my favourite rallies!”, said the DS3 driver. “Driving in these conditions is a genuinely unique pleasure.
“To begin with, you have to force yourself to push because your body and mind are telling you that you’re skidding. And yet you have to put as much power through the tyres as possible. And then the grip increases massively!
“It’s a bit like driving a car with a lot of downforce, you have to push back your own limits to get the absolute maximum in terms of performance… without overstepping the mark!”
Craig Breen has a big opportunity to impress this weekend. The Irishman, who finished runner up in the European Rally Championship last year, makes his debut for Abu Dhabi Total WRT and will be keen to impress. Breen secured two category podium-finishes in Super 2000 cars here in 2011 and 2012 and two years ago, he scored points on his first competitive outing in a World Rally Car, as he finished ninth.
“It’s a childhood dream come true.”said the Irishman, “Being able to drive a car like this in the World Championship is such an important opportunity for the rest of my career. I now have to grab this chance and show that I deserve my place among the elite.
“My aim is to keep improving throughout the rally, not to push like crazy on the first stage. I have a lot to learn and I’ll have other opportunities to show my speed. If I finish in the top six, that would be a fantastic result.”
Khalid Al-Qassimi brings the most experience to the event within the team and won the Colin’s Crest award in 2008. The event kicks off on Thursday February 11.