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Meeke: Top Corsica WRC shakedown time a boost to Toyota confidence

Toyota World Rally Championship driver Kris Meeke says his fastest time on the Tour of Corsica's shakedown has confirmed his confidence in the Toyota Yaris

The Bastia-based event is Meeke's maiden asphalt outing in the Yaris WRC.

His shakedown time was 0.9s faster than anybody else on the 3.40-mile Sorbo Ocagnano stage.

"I came away from the test and I felt OK with the car, but I had no reference," Meeke said.

"I'd done a one-day test on a single piece of road. I couldn't tell much and came away not really knowing where I was.

"Shakedown was good, it's a stage I know well and I like the stage. I felt confident and really happy with the car straight away. I would say I was pleasantly surprised by the shakedown time.

"I've been quickest there in the past, so it wouldn't necessarily be a surprise to do that again, but the feeling in the car was nice." Meeke added.

"There are no points for shakedown, which is a bit of a bastard given that I've been quickest on three of them this year.

"But still, this rally is going to be won by the driver who has the complete package. That means being comfortable in the car and having a real flow with the notes, the new notes from the new stages; it's about being the driver who had the clean recce and can interpret what they've found on the recce best.

"It's not about the driver who was quickest down a short blast of a stage. I have confidence and now I have to use it."

Last year's Tour of Corsica winner Sebastien Ogier was second quickest and admitted the pace of Meeke and fellow Toyota driver Ott Tanak in third was a wake-up call.

"We have seen straight away this morning that this rally won't be a drive in the park," said Ogier.

"The Toyota is very fast and this proves that we have to push as well if we want to win.

"The feeling is good for me and we have usually seen the Citroen strong here - hopefully, we can make something nice from the weekend."

Fears of snow hampering the route for the WRC's Corsica round have subsided with Friday's opening stages now clear following the wintry weather on the recce.

Snow fell on some of the event's higher altitude stages on the south of the island, and had it come a few days later it would have presented the organisers with some difficult decisions.

The crews did not drive the stages in the snow as it arrived the day after they passed over the leg one roads.

Ogier said: "That snow was crazy, [I'm] sure there would have been some stages cancelled [if it snowed on the event]. The weather can change so quickly on the higher roads, but let's hope the sun continues to shine now."

The only concern coming out of the recce was for a two-mile section of the 30-mile Castagniccia stage, which had been partly resurfaced.

Meeke said: "We're told the organisers did all they could to repair the road, but it's pretty tricky in one section - you've got Tarmac on one side and gravel on the other.

"The road's wide enough, but you don't have Tarmac on both sides. It could be a bit tricky if the weather got wet, but we should be OK."

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