Belfast Telegraph

Kris Meeke passes test with Mexico glory bid ahead

By Sammy Hamill

Kris Meeke warmed up for the start of Rally Mexico with a solid sixth fastest time in last night's test stage.

With the third round of the World championship beginning today in Leon, Meeke used the opportunity of three runs over the three-and-a-half mile gravel stage to shake down his Citroen DS3 and acclimatise to the hot, high altitude conditions.

The pace was set by Rally Sweden winner Jati-Matti Latvala ahead of Volkswagen team-mates Sebastien Ogier, the World champion, and Andres Mikkelsen.

Meeke's Citroen team-mate Mads Ostberg was fourth ahead of Ford's Mikko Hirvonen with the Ulsterman less than a second slower.

The Ford of Robert Kubica was seventh with Thierry Neuville eighth for newcomers Hyundai.

Earlier Meeke had been second fastest behind Ogier but elected not to push on the third run, saying he was happy with the set-up of the car ahead of the opening street stage in Guanajuato.

Meanwhile, Robert Barrable has been quick off the mark, becoming the first driver to sign up for the Circuit of Ireland.

With the regulations for the European championship round just approved by the FIA, Barrable has signalled his intention to be in Belfast for the April 18 start even though he is committed to a World championship programme in his Tunnocks Ford Fiesta R5 including the Rally of Portugal less than a fortnight earlier.

"I love competing on the Circuit of Ireland," said the 26-year-old Dubliner.

"I've done the rally four times and last time, in 2012, I finished sixth overall in an S2000 Skoda Fabia. The Fiesta R5 will be even better suited to the event so I'll be aiming to better that result.

"With all the European championship competitors, it will be a very difficult event to win."

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