It was the best and the worst day of Kris Meeke's year to date. He was back behind the wheel of a Mini John Cooper Works WRC, where he was meant to be spending most of this year. And next year. Yes, it was cold, wet asphalt, but not the right cold, wet asphalt; he was testing Eugene Donnelly's car for Galway, not warming up the number 52 machine on the Monte.
Meeke still doesn't want to talk about what's gone on at Mini, but stepping out of the car he's shaking down for Donnelly, he can't really help himself.
"This is doing my nut," he says with a thin smile and a shake of his head. "That, there," he adds pointing to the driving seat, "that's all I want to do."
And that's all he has to say.
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David Evans is the rallies editor of Autosport and Motorsport News. A successful rally driving father ensured an early introduction to motorsport and, fascinated as he was by rallying, the fourth estate was of equal interest. Having read (or at least looked at the pictures) from the age of two, he joined <i>Motoring News</i> in 1996 and later moved to Autosport in 2002.@davidevansrally More features by David Evans