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Meeke back in thick of the action after break

By Sammy Hamill

Published 20/05/2016

Kris Meeke was fourth fastest on the shakedown stage ahead of the Rally of Portugal
Kris Meeke was fourth fastest on the shakedown stage ahead of the Rally of Portugal

Despite a near three-month break from World championship action, Kris Meeke slotted seamlessly back into his Abu Dhabi Citroen DS3 on the shakedown stage ahead of last night's official start to the Rally of Portugal.

The Dungannon driver, who has been concentrating on the development of Citroen's new C3 car for the 2017 season, set the fourth fastest time after three runs through the three-mile test stage and said he "really enjoyed" being back.

Meeke is only taking part in selected rallies this year, spending the bulk of his time testing the new car which has been designed for revised WRC regulations which will come into force next season.

The Hyundais of Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo were quickest in the shakedown with Ford's Ott Tanak third, the top four covered by little more than half a second. The VW Polo of World champion Sebastien Ogier was eighth just ahead of Meeke's team-mate Stephane Lefebrve.

Meanwhile, last year's winner, Damien Toner, returns to head the field in his Ford Escort for tomorrow's Rainbow Communications Rally in Loughgall Country Park.

Run by the north Armagh Club, it features a 60-strong line-up of mostly Escorts and includes past winners in Keith White and David Armstrong.

Belfast Telegraph

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