Driving tips from Kris Meeke
Some people say that being able to drive fast is a God-given talent, while others say that you can learn it. I'm not quite sure which is true, but I suspect the best drivers benefit from a bit of both.
So, after a couple of requests, I'm going to share a few rally driving techniques with you, so you can get an idea of the sort of things that are going on inside my Peugeot S2000 rally car.
A lot of people watch me in action and then come back and say that my driving style is aggressive. I'm surprised, because everyone who sits with me in the car says how calm I look!
The answer is that you can make a car do what you want with subtle inputs - there's rarely anything to be gained from being aggressive behind the wheel. But that's not to say you can't drive aggressively but with a light touch!
A handbrake turn is a perfect example of this. A lot of drivers think the handbrake is a magic wand that will fire you round a corner, but nothing's further from the truth. In fact, I'm no friend of the handbrake at all - if I can, I'd much rather drive round a corner than use it. It's faster that way.
However, in tight hairpins and junctions there's no doubting it has its value - if used in the right way.
First, I get the front of the car turned in - without that sideways momentum the handbrake won't do anything.
The key is to know where the front wheel is - and placing it perfectly almost requires a sixth sense. When it's where I want it I dip the clutch and give the handbrake a touch - but no more - and as long as you are travelling at the correct speed then the sideways momentum should do the rest.
After that, it's about judging the right moment to let the clutch out and feed in the throttle in. Get it right and you will fire out of the corner.
For the spectators it'll look great, and from inside the car it'll feel fast, flowing and very simple - the perfect result.
Maybe some of you rally, and do things differently? If so, I'd like to know how?
Otherwise, drop me a line on anything else you'd like to know about driving the car, and I'll write my next blog on it.