Kris Meeke believes that drivers will be able to make a bigger difference through the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship season following the introduction of new technical regulations.
A revision to the regulations for 2017 has given teams greater freedom and additional engine power, resulting in more exciting and spectacular cars for the new campaign.
Citroen will return to the WRC full-time in 2017 after only entering select events this year so that it could fully prepare for the regulation change.
After Citroen launched its new car, the C3 WRC, earlier this week, Meeke spoke warmly of the greater challenge that awaits drivers next season.
“The 2017 car is an exciting machine, it’s quite a big step from 2016,” Meeke said.
“We know the regulation changes but when you drive them in anger, they’re a different beast. You really have to be on your game, every metre, to keep on top of them.
“For me, the human element will come to the front even more in 2017, because in places it’s going to be difficult to extract the potential of these cars. At times they are so, so fast.”
Meeke claimed two wins for Citroen through 2016 in Portugal and Finland, and has been tipped to mount a challenge for the title in 2017.
However, the Briton remains coy about his chances, believing that the regulation changes will present opportunities to all of the WRC’s manufacturers.
“We’ve been pushing hard in testing but you can never really tell until you get to competition and go up against other drivers and cars,” Meeke said.
“I’m happy that we’ve done good work but there’s still always that thought in your mind, that we don’t know where we are in reference with our rivals.”
The new WRC season gets underway with Rally Monte-Carlo on January 19.