A day in the life

Top Gear (UK) - - CONTENTS -

WRC driver, Citroen

Any day you win a WRC rally is one to re­mem­ber, but for Kris Meeke the fnal day of the 2017 Rally Mex­ico will be im­pos­si­ble to for­get.

6:30am

When­ever I’m com­pet­ing in a rally I al­ways wake up an hour or more ear­lier than I need to. My co-driver Paul knocks on the door and comes in (fully clothed, I might add), and we go through the recce videos for that day.

8:00am

We head to the ser­vice park where we have our meet­ings with the en­gi­neers. We talk about weather for­casts, tyre choices and set-ups for the day.

9:30am

We make our tyre se­lec­tion run­ning down to the frst stage. There has been a lit­tle bit of rain this morn­ing and on the frst stage we man­age to in­crease our gap, which in the end proves to be quite im­por­tant. It wasn’t my in­ten­tion to in­crease the lead but we have a good rhythm and the car feels great. We’re quick­est by six sec­onds from Ogier so in­crease our lead to 37 sec­onds – a nice cush­ion.

12:00pm

The fnal power stage. I make a well-doc­u­mented ex­cur­sion into a car park with less than a kilo­me­tre to go, but man­age to re­cover and cross the line be­fore my 37-sec­ond gap evap­o­rates. We win the rally. Just.

12:30pm

Podium cer­e­mony at the fnish line for the live TV and a few in­ter­views. It’s all a bit sur­real. I still have a front left punc­ture, but we have enough time to change that af­ter our me­dia du­ties. We still have to do 60km back to the ser­vice park – that’s a part of the rally. We change the tyre us­ing the spares in the back.

2:00pm

On the drive back to the ser­vice park we both have a ner­vous gig­gle. Paul ac­tu­ally turns to me, puts his fnger in my face and says: “I hope one night next week you wake up sweat­ing.”

2:30pm

Get back to the team, and they’re all de­lighted, of course. I’m not sure whether the team boss wants to hit me or hug me, but that’s ral­ly­ing – ev­ery­one’s been of at one time or an­other.

3:00pm

Of­cial podium cer­e­mony, fol­lowed by the press con­fer­ence – so you go through all the emo­tions of that again. Ev­ery­one is just stand­ing around open-mouthed. It wasn’t as big a drama for me as ev­ery­one else, be­cause apart from when I went through the hedge, I was in con­trol.

5:00pm

Get back to the ho­tel, shut the door and then it’s like… oof, you’ve got a mo­ment to think. It’s only now I see the on­board footage and the pics of the car we touched on the way into the feld, and re­alise how lucky we were.

7:00pm

Go for a big team din­ner… and have one or two Coronas, I won’t lie. Strip away the drama on the last stage, and we more or less dom­i­nated the rally, which was huge for the whole team. We had some cel­e­bra­tions that night, for sure.

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