Belfast Telegraph

Kris Meeke is well placed to challenge his opponents

By Sammy Hamill

Kris Meeke slotted into third place, just four seconds off the lead, after the opening two stages of Rally Poland.

The Abu Dhabi Citroen DS3 of the Dungannon driver was hard on the heels of the Volkswagens of Andreas Mikkelsen and World champion Sebastien Ogier as round seven of the WRC series got under way.

His team-mate Mads Ostberg was fourth behind the Hyundai of 2012 Circuit of Ireland winner Juho Hanninen.

It was Meeke, of course, who did much of the early development work on the WRC Mini before the Prodrive World championship project began to disintegrate at the end of 2011.

Now the final car constructed by the Banbury company is set to make its Irish debut in tomorrow's Orchard Motorsport Lurgan Park Rally in the hands of Derek McGarrity.

Built for Dani Sordo for the 2012 Rally of Spain, where he set six fastest times, it has now been bought by super dealer McGarrity to replace the two Motorsport Italia Minis he sold.

"This was the last works Mini built by Prodrive and it has recently been back to the factory to be completely refurbished and brought up to the final specification," said McGarrity.

Meeke is the only driver to have won in a Mini in the park where Subarus have been dominant, winning 11 times in the past 12 years, and they hold a strong hand again even though Donegal International winner Declan Boyle is a late withdrawal from the starting list.

Garry Jennings, last year's winner, starts at No.1 in his S12 Impreza with Kenny McKinstry, chasing a 12th Lurgan victory, following at three in his S14.

It all kicks off for the first of eight sprint stages in the park at 10.15am tomorrow morning.

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