Kris Meeke masters roads to lead at Rally Argentina
Kris Meeke put his troubles behind him to surge into the lead of Rally Argentina last night.
The Dungannon driver, under pressure after crashing on each of the last three rounds of the World Championship, led the rally in his Abu Dhabi Citroen DS3 by almost half-a-minute after the first four stages.
In second place behind the Sebastian Ogier after the opening super-special stage on Thursday evening, Meeke shot to the front when the world champion's Volkswagen stopped with engine trouble on stage two yesterday.
The monster 51km Agua de Oro stage caused havoc for not just Ogier, but also for the Hyundais of Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo as well as the VW of Andreas Mikkelsen, all of which suffered punctures.
Meeke flew through unscathed to lead by 32 seconds from Jari-Matti Latvala.
But he lost 18 seconds with a puncture on stage three and then regained most of it with fastest time on the re-run of Agua de Oro in the afternoon to stretch his lead to 28 seconds over the VW of Latvala.
"The stages are extremely rough, not something I like, but I'm driving at my own pace and trying to keep it clean, no mistakes," said Meeke. "It's working so far …"
Behind Latvala, Meeke's Citroen team-mate Mads Ostberg was third but over a minute adrift of the lead, with Sordo fourth and Ford's Elfyn Evans fifth.
Meanwhile, Donagh Kelly, unbeaten after four events so far this season, takes on a double challenge this weekend, lining up his M-Sport Ford Focus for the Londonderry-based Border Hopper Rally today and then moving on to Monaghan to defend his lead in the Irish National Championship tomorrow.