Kris Meeke

Kris holds second in Wales

Saturday, 14th November 2015 - by Site Admin
Kris holds second in Wales

Kris has consolidated his solid second place on Wales Rally GB, after one of the toughest days of rallying in the entire 2015 FIA World Championship.

Today’s long schedule included nine stages, starting at around 07h30 and not finishing until the final pair of tests, run in darkness, at nearly 20h00. Conditions were typical of Wales in mid-November, with heavy rain and standing water in many of the classic forest tests. The repeat runs were particularly treacherous, as the ruts in the roads filled with water, making it hard to judge braking distances and cornering speeds.

Kris started the day with world champion and rally leader Sebastien Ogier in sight – but his focus was actually on maintaining his second place to help Citroen Racing secure second in the manufacturer’s championship. This task became all the more crucial as Kris’s team-mate Mads Ostberg hit trouble during the day, falling behind the cars of Citroen’s main rival, Hyundai.

As such, Kris was concerned with his position relative to not only the third-place VW Polo of Andreas Mikkelsen but also the i20 WRCs of Dani Sordo and Hayden Paddon. He drove at a fast, controlled pace throughout the day’s tests and bizarrely, he actually led outright at one point after Ogier was held up by a crashed car. However, the organisers handed the Frenchman back the time he lost and by the end of the day Kris was just over half a minute behind. Crucially, though, the second-placed man has almost 25s in hand over Mikkelsen.

Kris said, ‘It’s been another strong day. There was no intention to catch Ogier; we know what he has underneath him. It’s a case of job done for today, but tomorrow will be tricky. We have the experience of last year and we’re happy enough.

‘We knew today would be wet, but even so, there was so much water in places that it we had to be doubly cautious. You can end up aquaplaning in fifth gear very easily and it only takes a tiny moment to catch you out on these roads. I had to stay focused on our goal here, and we’ve done that. We need the same again tomorrow, really.’

Tomorrow’s schedule looks easier on paper – with just two forest stages, Brenig (run twice) and Alwen, plus the asphalt test at Great Orme. However, the weather forecast for the next 24 hours is for yet more wind and rain, so conditions could be incredibly difficult in the final few kilometres – not least because that second run through Brenig is the event-closing Power Stage.

Wales Rally GB – leading positions after SS15
1 Sebastien Ogier (VW Polo WRC) 2h40m25.2s
2 Kris Meeke (DS 3 WRC) +35.6s
3 Andreas Mikkelsen (VW Polo WRC) +1m00.3s
4 Ott Tanak (Ford Fiesta WRC) +2m41.0s
5 Dani Sordo (Hyundai i20 WRC) +2m55.7s
6 Hayden Paddon (Hyundai i20 WRC) +3m13.8s