Kris has suffered early frustration and disappointment in the opening round of the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship, Rallye Monte Carlo.
The Northern Irishman started today’s first full leg of action on the classic French event with high hopes. He set a respectable time on the sole stage where he competed yesterday evening, and was looking forward to getting to know his new Citroen C3 WRC in what were expected to be consistent conditions in the mountains.
Things started well enough, as Kris and his co-driver Paul Nagle set third fastest time on the opening stage of the morning – enough to move them up into second spot overall, around 16 seconds behind leader Thierry Neuville.
However, on the next stage, Kris was caught out by the road surface on a fast left-hand bend. His C3 slid wide and clipped a bank, breaking its steering and forcing him out of the day’s action. He is expected to return tomorrow, running under Rally2 regulations.
Kris said, ‘I’m gutted for the team on this one. I was driving carefully but it was so complicated, so tricky out there. You just had to live by your wits. On the fast left, I thought there was a bit more snow; it gives a bit more substance, so you get a bit more grip. But when we got there it was completely polished, totally ice.
‘I’d committed to the corner and made my speed for it, but we just couldn’t get round it. So we touched a bank on the outside and that damaged the steering. And that was that.
‘I’m pretty gutted now, of course, but we’re going to keep our chin up and not let this defeat us. We’ll be back out tomorrow, hoping to learn more about the stages, the conditions and the new car.’
Tomorrow’s schedule is arguably the most daunting of the event, with five stages – including a pair of tests, repeated, that total almost 50km on each of the passes. The event then finishes after a shorter schedule on Sunday that includes two runs over the famous Col de Turini.