In the absence of a goodly line up of British, never mind Scots, in this year’s World Rally Championship I’m including the Irish in that as well to make the outlook even brighter.
Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle scored a magnificent third place overall and topped that with third fastest time on the Power Stage final test of the Monte Carlo Rally.
Afterwards Kris said: “I’ve never witnessed conditions like these at a rally. It was incredibly difficult, but we achieved our goal. I had a very good feeling in the Citroën DS3 WRC. Monte-Carlo is always a tough rally. It’s not really a tarmac rally and it’s a snow rally either. It’s got a bit of everything! I’m very pleased for those who put their faith in me. It’s really nice to be able to pay back the team for their support with this result.”
Citroën Racing Team Principal Yves Matton added: “We asked our crews not to take any risks when the conditions were difficult… and we pretty much only had difficult conditions! They raced sensibly and followed the instructions we gave them, pushing when they felt confident. This performance is a great way to start the season, and highly motivating for the entire team. We all know about Kris’s speed. This weekend, he showed his maturity and his ability to manage a result. It’s an important stage in building the foundations of the rest of the season. Mads is not really a tarmac driver. However, he felt confident in the Citroën DS3 WRC straightaway.”
Elfyn Evans and Daniel Barritt can also be justly proud of their first run out n a proper works car on a World Championship counter on foreign soil. They finished a tremendous sixth overall. Mind you, the wet weather might just have made them feel a wee bit more at home.
Elfyn was really chuffed with his result: "I'm absolutely delighted to have made it to the finish in such a strong position. Obviously it is very disappointing for Mikko [Hirvonen], he and Jarmo [Lehtinen, co-driver] helped us a lot this weekend and sixth place should have gone to them.”
"We managed to keep our noses clean all event – no moments, no dramas, no big slides. To drive round a tricky event like this, like we did, it is a big achievement for us and it fulfils everything we wanted from the weekend.”
"There are a lot of people who made it all possible – the ice note crew being one, the team being another. It was a big step to come into a squad like this, and with a top car for my first outing on the Monte, so a big thanks to Malcolm [Wilson] and the team for the opportunity."
Robert Barrable and Stuart Loudon finished in 13th place and third in WRC2. Eamon Boland and Michael Morrissey can also feel justly proud of their 14th place overall in their Subaru Impreza.