WRC: VW predicts Citroen's Meeke will win Finland

WRC: VW predicts Citroen's Meeke will win Finland
2016-07-27 13:57:48
http://www.racer.com/component/flexicontent/502-rally/132457-vw-certain-meeke-will-win-finland?Itemid=1
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Kris Meeke should win Rally Finland easily, believes Volkswagen team boss Jost Capito.

As Citroen is only contesting a part-season in the 2016 World Rally Championship, Meeke goes into Finland ninth in the standings, so will start eighth on the road given the injured Dani Sordo's absence. Capito believes that position in the running order will put Meeke in an unbeatable position on the WRC's fastest rally.

"It's clear – if Kris does no major mistake, he wins Finland," Capito said. "There's no doubt about that. Nobody else will stand a chance. This is clear already and now we can all see that this is clear."

Although VW's lead driver Sebastien Ogier still holds a comfortable advantage in the championship, he has not won on gravel all season. Capito sees no sign of that changing given the current running order rules, which place the points leader first on the road for the majority of each event.

"It's not just difficult for Ogier to fight for the win, it's impossible now for Ogier to fight for the win," Capito argued.

MEEKE SHRUGS OFF 'MIND GAMES'

Meeke dismissed Capito's prediction he was near-certain to become the first Briton to win Finland this weekend.

"That's BS," he said. "Finland's nothing like Portugal, or Sardinia or Poland. Even if it's bone dry this week, there are only a few places where it'll be more tricky [to be first on the road].

"The weather here has been wet in the run-up to the event. Running first on the road will be no disadvantage at all this week. In fact, it's quite possible it might be an advantage.

"It's nice that Jost is saying that, nice to be remembered when I'm away and not competing on these rallies – it's better than him saying: 'Meeke's s**t and he's got no chance.' But I think we can see this for what it is: mind games. Maybe he's trying to provoke me a little bit."

Meeke's pace in Finland in 2013 when he was auditioning for a future with Citroen was one of the most significant drives of his WRC career, as he ran fifth on his event debut before crashing. He was third in 2014 and led early on in '15 before going off. But having not competed in the DS 3 since his Portugal win in May, Meeke doubts he can win this weekend.

"I would have to really stick my neck out to be on the pace in Finland," he said. "That's not what this rally is about for me. I had to do that last year, I had to set those times to try and get the long-term deal that I wanted.

"Don't get me wrong, I'll be trying – I love Finland and it's a fantastic place to drive a rally car, but I've nothing to prove."

PROVISIONAL FINLAND START ORDER:

1 Sebastien Ogier
2 Andreas Mikkelsen
3 Hayden Paddon
4 Jari-Matti Latvala
5 Mads Ostberg
6 Thierry Neuville
7 Ott Tanak
8 Kris Meeke
9 Eric Camilli
10 Henning Solberg

Originally on Autosport.com

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