Kris Meeke

Kris scores points in Corsica

Sunday, 8th April 2018 - by Site Admin
Kris scores points in Corsica

Kris has secured points on the fourth round of the FIA World Rally Championship, the Tour de Corse – but only after a disappointing crash put him out of contention for a podium finish.

The Northern Irishman and his co-driver, Kerry’s Paul Nagle, started the all-asphalt event with high hopes, given the strength of performances on the same surface from their Citroen C3 WRC during 2017. Fastest time during the pre-event shakedown raised expectations further, although Kris was quick to point out that he expected a closer fight once the event started in earnest.

The first few stages set the tone of the event, with reigning champion Sebastien Ogier grabbing an early lead that he would never lose, and Kris quickly becoming embroiled in a scrap for second spot with Thierry Neuville and Ott Tanak.

This battle continued through to Saturday, and Kris experimented with his C3 WRC’s settings in the second afternoon in a bid to gain the upper hand. It seemed to be working, too, as he clawed back time on Neuville to draw level with the Belgian on the day’s penultimate stage.

On the final test of Saturday’s schedule, though, the Citroen’s rally hit trouble, as a misread pacenote from Paul – his first in 11 years alongside Kris – meant that the pairing arrived at a corner too quickly and bounced off the road.

Stellar work from the Citroen Racing mechanics got the C3 WRC back on track for today’s action, although the fight was focused on catching Jan Kopecky for eighth instead of tussling with Tanak and Neuville for second. In the end, though, the overnight deficit proved just too great, and Kris and Paul ended the rally in ninth place, 5.7 seconds behind the Czech driver. Kris’s time on the event-closing PowerStage was good enough to get him a couple of points, however.

“It’s been a disappointing weekend,” said Kris at the finish. “Paul has never made a mistake like that before and I support him 100 percent. Indeed, his delivery of the pacenotes was absolutely perfect in the long stage that we got back into action on this morning. It’s done, dusted and we move on.

“We have to say, though, that this event has shown that the C3 WRC doesn’t have the advantage on asphalt that it had during 2017. Everyone else has made a step forward whereas it looks like we’ve been standing still. We have to keep pushing on development because the World Rally Championship is constantly evolving.”

The next round of the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship is in Argentina on 26-29 April. Kris and Citroen Racing will be hoping that some new parts developed for the C3 WRC’s gravel specification will help them to put in a strong showing as the season moves back onto loose surfaces.

Tour de Corse – leading finishers
1 Sebastien Ogier (Ford Fiesta WRC 3h26m52.7s
2 Ott Tanak (Toyota Yaris WRC) +36.1s
3 Thierry Neuville (Hyundai i20 WRC) +1m07.5s
4 Dani Sordo (Hyundai i20 WRC) +2m02.6s
5 Elfyn Evans (Ford Fiesta WRC) +2m06.1s
6 Esapekka Lappi (Toyota Yaris WRC) +2m33.5s

8 Kris Meeke (CItroen C3 WRC) +10m40.5s