Kris Meeke’s thoughts ahead of Rally Portugal

Kris, congratulations on picking up the win at the Rali Terras D’Aboboreira recently with Hyundai Portugal. You have taken on the drive in the Portuguese Championship in honour of your friend and former team-mate Craig Breen and that brings you back to the WRC after a four-year absence. How does it feel to be back?


It’s honestly nice to be back, I have to say. Probably, after a few years of WRC you get tired of recces and stages the same and videos at night. I was actually quite excited to be here and was enjoying the recce. It was nice to come back, for sure, to do a rally. I have some great memories here in Portugal. It’s obviously difficult to be here under the circumstances but the opportunity presented itself and I am here because I wanted to drive. Having James (Fulton) on board this weekend, it’s going to be a challenging event, learning the car with a new co- driver. We will enjoy like always and try our best.


Those are exactly the words Craig Breen would have said, ‘have fun and enjoy’. You are taking on the role that he had with Hyundai Portugal. That win a couple of weeks ago must have been pretty emotional as well?

It was so soon after everything happened. When the opportunity presented itself, I declined the offer. I thought it was too soon. But, after a few days, we talked again and I talked to Craig’s family and, for me, it’s a pleasure to be back in a rally car. The small rally in Portugal was in the Amarante area and we used the last half of that stage. It was nice practice to be honest. All things in the car were new and we had very little time to test. It was enjoyable, opening the road. I suppose we will have a bit more grip but rougher stages here this weekend. It has definitely whetted my appetite for the WRC rally.


You’re a former outright winner here, so you know what the secret to success is. What is the winning formula?
To be honest, I have been following the rallies while I have been away and I’ve been, let’s say, a bit disappointed to see only seven or eight cars in P1 – not so many stories to tell. WRC2 has been where all the action is with 30+ cars here. Andreas has won WRC events before, Teemu (Suninen) has been on the podium in Portugal twice, I think, so the level is certainly there. There is a lot of experience in the WRC2 category. The big challenge for me this weekend is

understanding the tyres. Although I have been testing a lot at Škoda, when you don’t have the experience of the tyres or how strong they will be, it will be a challenge and I am looking forward to it.


Could this potentially lead to more events within the championship?


This just so happened because of Hyundai Portugal and this coincided with the WRC Rally Portugal. The priority for me is day one. I am driving for Hyundai Portugal and the Portuguese Championship and the points are taken after day one. That is a rally without a service and rougher stages. It is going to be a challenge. It is important for me to be there at the end of day one. After that, let’s see what happens.

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