CITROEN RACING BOSS YVES MATTON IS STANDING BY HIS DRIVER
KRIS MEEKE, AND BELIEVES THAT DESPITE CRASHING OUT OF ADAC RALLYE DEUTSCHLAND AT THE WEEKEND HE IS CLOSER THAN EVER TO TAKING A MAIDEN RALLY WIN AT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP LEVEL.
Meeke got closest to VW’s dominant duo of Sebastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala in Germany. He moved second after Ogier’s accident on Friday, but squandered a chance of victory on Sunday when Latvala also crashed, handing him the lead with three stages to go. Meeke held the position for less than 30 minutes before crashing his DS3 early in the next stage.
Matton said: “In one way for sure we are disappointed – we were leading, and on the way to continue our run of victories in Germany – but on the other way, if I want to be positive, Kris was doing a wonderful job since the beginning of the weekend, getting closer and closer to his first victory. Okay, now we have to take a little bit of time to accept that we did not win in Germany, but I’m really happy and positive for the future and certainly for Australia.”
Matton denied that Meeke’s crash would affect his chances of getting an extension to his current season contract at the Citroen Total Abu Dhabi squad. “It will change nothing. Last year he did some mistakes also at the end of rallies and I took him this year. I’m only looking at what he’s doing on the rallies and I’m really happy with what he has done. Its only a small mistake but I think that we are closer and closer to the fact that he will be able to win a rally.”
Meeke blamed an incorrect pace note for the crash, but took consolation from the pace he showed earlier in the event. He said: “When we heard that Jari-Matti had stopped, it didn’t really affect me. I was comfortable where I was, and I started the next stage with the same mentality. Unfortunately my very, very first note in that stage was a bit optimistic. I had ‘flat-right tightens’ and it tightened a lot more. I understeered, touched the front and it damaged the wheel and on the next big braking the car snatched sideways and the rear wheel hit the wall, damaging the rear suspension. There wasn’t any mud on the road or anything, I simply got caught out.
“It was frustrating and gutting because it could gave been such a beautiful step forward for me, and the team could keep its winning record in Germany. But this is life and there are so many positive to take from the weekend that I have to try to keep my chin up. I have moved forward so much in the last 3 or 4 rallies. Before I would have got really frustrated and emotional at this type of mistake, but now, okay I’m frustrated but I’m not emotional. I’m able accept it and move forward. That’s what we need to do. I’m determined to keep going until I can run at the front and win rallies. That’s what I want to do.”