Upgrade for free today
You have only 5 articles remaining to view this month.
Kris Meeke says his Monte Carlo Rally powerstage win does not hide the fact the Citroen World Rally Championship outfit needs things to “completely change” to win the event again.
Meeke finished fourth overall on the WRC season opener following a final-stage off for Toyota’s Esapekka Lappi and won the powerstage to end the rally joint-third in the championship, one point behind second-placed Ott Tanak.
He said that was slightly deceptive after a disappointing event in which he was “nowhere” on pace.
“This is an incredible start to the season,” said Meeke. “We’re close to second, but we go to Sweden fourth on the road, that’s great.
“But only in Monte Carlo can you come away with a result like this after being nowhere in terms of pace.
“We were possibly the slowest car there apart from [Bryan] Bouffier and that’s no disrespect to him, it’s his first time in a [new] car.
“It’s been a very painful weekend, things need to completely change if we ever want to win this rally.”
Meeke finished on the Monte podium in 2014 and had frontrunning pace in ’15 and ’16 against Sebastiens Loeb and Ogier respectively.
Like last year, Meeke struggled when the C3 was running in asphalt trim on low-grip surfaces, but improved in the dry.
“We’ll take the 17 points and put this behind us,” he said.
“But reality bites, we can’t let this cloud an awful performance and we can’t arrive at the Monte Carlo Rally and have this happen again.
“We’ve had to be clever on this rally.
“It’s boring to be clever, but it works sometimes – it’s just taken me 30-odd years to work that one out.”
Meeke’s team-mate Craig Breen was ninth after a frustrating event that started with him following Meeke off the road on the opening stage.
A freak brake problem all Friday morning then left him first on the road in the worst of the conditions on Saturday.
“We have won some points and fourth is particularly good for Kris,” said new Citroen team principal Pierre Budar after his first rally in charge.
“We didn’t expect to lose our chance straight away in the first two stages that was frustrating, so we are very happy to recover this on the last day.
“We have made some set-up [improvements] for the snow and wet Tarmac, but Kris’ feeling was much better on the dry – we have work to do when the grip is less.”