Sebastien Loeb warns Citroen's Kris Meeke facing tough Rally Finland
|By David Evans||Wednesday, July 31st 2013, 14:51 GMT|
Nine-time World Rally champion Sebastien Loeb has admitted Kris Meeke faces an uphill task when he steps aboard a Citroen DS3 WRC for this week's Rally Finland.
Meeke is standing in for Khalid Al Qassimi and driving for the Citroen Abu Dhabi team for the first time in Jyvaslyla.
Loeb, who won Finland last year in a sister DS3 WRC to the one Meeke will drive, isn't competing in the latest round of the championship.
"It's a tough event to come to and drive [the World Rally Car] for the first time," said Loeb.
"Normally, if the six official drivers finish the event, then I would expect them to be ahead of [Kris] Meeke.
"It's a long time since he drove, so it's not going to be possible for him to fight for the top.
"If he goes to the end, I imagine he will be between five and seven, something like that."
Meeke tested the DS3 WRC for the first time on Sunday, driving 240 miles in Citroen's test car in preparation for his first full factory outing with the Paris team.
"The test couldn't have gone any better," Meeke said.
"We used a really high-speed road which was important for confidence in the car.
"We went through loads of set-ups and it was great to work with the boys from Citroen."
While Meeke has started Rally Finland five times, he has only competed in a four-wheel drive car once, when he retired a Mini John Cooper Works WRC with an engine problem.
"I would say 90 per cent of the stages are new to me in a World Rally Car," Meeke added.
"I've never done Ouninpohja in a WRC, for example, so I'll be starting with a clean pace note book and starting from scratch."