Belfast Telegraph

Kris Meeke stays on right track

By Sammy Hamill

Kris Meeke stuck to his strategy as he moved into the top six of Rally Sweden.

He has insisted all along that this is a learning event for him – his first time in Sweden and first time on a snow rally – and has refused to take undue risks.

Even so, the Ulsterman climbed from 10th to sixth yesterday and found himself the leading non-Scandinavian driver.

Meeke, who was third on the Monte Carlo Rally, his debut event as leader of the Abu Dhabi Citroen team, benefited from the troubles which befell World champion Sebastien Ogier and the Hyundai pair of Thierry Neuville and Juho Hanninen. Leader Ogier dropped back to 20th when he went off the road on the first stage yesterday, his Volkswagen Polo getting stuck for four minutes. By last night he was back up to ninth.

Neuville hit a rock on the same stage, breaking the suspension of his Hyundai, and Hanninen, the 2012 Circuit of Ireland winner, tore a wheel off his car.

It left Ogier's VW team-mates Jari Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen battling for the lead, the Finn shading it by just over three seconds going into today's final leg.

Meeke's Norwegian team-mate Mads Ostberg was third ahead of Ford's Finnish No.1 Mikko Hirvonen with Estonian privateer Ott Tanak fifth in his Fiesta.

Behind Meeke, Sweden's Pontus Tidemand, Norwegian Henning Solberg, the recovering Ogier and young Welshman Elfyn Evans completed the top 10.

Craig Breen was 11th in his WRC Fiesta, just in front of leading WRC2 Ford of Yazeed Al Rahji and Bangor co-driver Michael Orr.

Belfast Telegraph

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