Belfast Telegraph

Injured Meeke left raging at Russian driver

By Sammy Hamill

Kris Meeke finished day two of the Rally of Finland in a strong fifth place but he was left injured and angry after a incident which looks to have cost him the position of leading Citroen driver.

In a hugely impressive debut for Citroen, Meeke was half-a-minute behind team leader Mikko Hirvonen – all of it lost when he caught the Ford Fiesta of Evgeny Novikov on the second stage of the day.

The Russian had crashed into a log pile and re-joined the road just in front of Meeke. Despite huge damage to his car, and being told by the Ford team over the radio to allow Meeke past, he refused, blocking the Citroen for some six miles.

Meeke's windscreen was shattered by flying stones and at one point he was forced off the road, breaking a front wheel. Adding to the Ulsterman's woes, the car slipped off the jack as he and co-driver Chris Patterson changed the wheel, and Meeke's hand was gashed.

A livid Meeke confronted Novikov. "I asked him what he thought he was at," he said.

Ford team boss Malcolm Wilson later apologised to Meeke and last night rally officials were reviewing on-board camera footage, raising the possibility that the lost time could be credited back.

It would have been just reward for a stunning performance which saw the former IRC champion again outshine his team-mates Hirvonen and Dani Sordo, who was more than a minute behind in eighth.

Volkswagen's World championship leader Sebastien Ogier stepped up the pace to move into first place, over half-a-minute ahead of the Fords of Thierry Neuville and Mads Ostberg.

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