Kris Meeke

Kris on his cars

What he's driven - and what he thought of it

09 November 2013

Kris has driven many of the most influential rally cars of the past 30 years – and played a part in developing more than a few of them himself.

With formative years spent in the height of the Super 1600 era, Kris used some of the fastest front-wheel-drive cars in the WRC. But he has also dabbled in classic machinery, including Group B and Group 4 cars, and

Outside of rallying, Kris has tried everything from superkarts to single-seater sports cars. Here are his thoughts on the cars he’s driven over the years.

Super 1600 & Super 2000

Citroen C2 S1600

2006 Rally GB - pic by Roy Dempster

“This car was probably my first proper factory drive with a manufacturer, and the beginning of all the testing work that I’ve done with Citroen over the years. It was great to be able to take a car and have real input into how it was being developed, even down to how the engine was developed, and you could say I basically learned my trade in this car.

“We had a big battle in the first year with the C2 with Dani Sordo for the Junior WRC title, and unfortunately he just pipped me on that occasion, but I still have some fantastic memories of my first Citroen. We won the Junior category in Monte Carlo, and I’ll always remember that.”

Ford Puma S1600

2002 Jim Clark Rally - pic by Roy Dempster

“This was my first foray into Super 1600, and it also represented my first years under the guidance of Colin McRae. He was with Ford himself at the time, of course, in the Focus, and I was working for Malcolm Wilson up at M Sport, so it all tied in nicely to run a Puma.

“It was good to get the opportunity to do the British championship in a Super 1600 – a big chance for me at the time – and even though the Puma was among the older cars in that class by the time I got to it, it was still pretty competitive among its peers. There was definitely a knack to driving it – I remember the engine wasn’t great on the torque front, so you had to be very committed – but we still won the British Junior title in this car, at my first attempt. It was an important car for me as I really started the learning process.”

Opel Corsa S1600

2003 Scottish Rally - pic by Roy Dempster

“I spent two years in the Corsa, in 2003 and 2004, semi-supported by Opel but mostly through my involvement with Colin McRae. It was a nice car, particularly good on asphalt, but it wasn’t that strong a car on gravel and no matter how much we tried to make it work there, it found the going tough, particularly on the rougher stages.

“We still had some good moments with it – we won the British S1600 and British Junior championships with it, after all – but it had its moments of frustration too.”

Peugeot 207 Super 2000

2009 Monte Carlo Rally - pic by Roy Dempster

“This car took me into the Intercontinental Rally Challenge in 2009, and I ended up driving it for two seasons. We hit the ground running and led the Monte Carlo Rally, the opening round in the car, before we had an accident. However, we then hit back and won the next three rounds in a row – Brazil, the Azores and Ypres.

“I developed a pretty special relationship with the car and have very fond memories of it – not only in 2009, when we won the title with a round to spare, but also in 2010, when I go to do a lot of development work too.”

Renault Clio S1600

2008 Killarney Rally - pic by Roy Dempster

“I had a few lean years in 2007 and 2008, and an opportunity came up to drive this car back in Ireland. Funny, I’d competed against Renault Clios for many years when I was in the Junior World Championship, but I’d never had a chance to try one for myself until this one came along.

“It was a fantastic Super 1600 car – one of the best. The layout of the car was excellent, with a wheel at each corner and a really low centre of gravity, and this car had an Oreca engine, which was just fabulous. I was able to set some fastest times with the Clio in Ireland, against full-spec World Rally Cars, so I have some very happy memories of it.

“I don’t forget this car’s importance in my career, either. It ultimately led me to drive a Renault on a round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge – Rally Russia, I think – and that, in turn, gave me the contacts who were instrumental in me getting the Peugeot seat for 2009.”

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