Monte Carlo Rally podium marks new chapter for Kris Meeke
|By David Evans||Sunday, January 26th 2014, 13:39 GMT|
Kris Meeke says his Monte Carlo Rally podium marks a new start in his career.
The Northern Irishman repaid Citroen's faith in him by landing third place on his full-time debut with the French squad last week.
Meeke's career has been a rollercoaster of highs and lows, with a factory Mini deal leading him into the world championship on the back of his 2009 Intercontinental Rally Challenge title, only for him to lose his seat when BMW withdrew its backing for Prodrive's programme.
Last year, Meeke was offered two outings in Citroen's DS3 WRC, and crashed three times on those rallies. Yet he still earned a factory seat with the team for 2014.
"This is a new beginning for me," said Meeke. "It's just the start. There's no doubt that there are going to be some tough times ahead - you know the next three rallies will be super-difficult, I've not been to Sweden, Mexico or Portugal, but I go there just for experience and I go on the back of a strong start."
Citroen has been working with Meeke on his psychological approach and those immediately around him are already seeing the benefits.
Meeke's co-driver Paul Nagle said: "This is a different Kris Meeke that we are seeing this year.
"I wouldn't have co-driven for him for a couple of years, but it's clear that things have changes since we were last in the car together."
Citroen boss Yves Matton added: "[The Monte result] was good for his head after what happened last year.
"It was a bit of a bet when we asked him to join the team this season. Last year he did two rallies for us and crashed three times - it was a little bit of a joke...
"But one of the most important things for a driver is the speed and Kris has this, it's very natural for him.
"And we are working with him for the other problems to make sure he is able to do a rally at the highest level without making any mistakes."