Meeke five alive and up with big guns in Germany
Kris Meeke was in fifth place as he began day two of Rally Deutschland, his first World championship event on tarmac for the new Mini WRC team.
As World champion Sebastien Loeb and the Citroen team stole a march on the rest with an inspired tyre choice in early damp conditions, Meeke and his Spanish team-mate Dani Sordo vied for places in the top six.
They finished the first leg of the rally in line astern, Sordo, the team’s tarmac specialist, in fourth and Meeke 17 seconds behind in fifth place.
“I had a couple of spins in the slippery conditions but overall it was a good day,” said the Dungannon driver.
“For sure Citroen has made the right calls on the soft compound tyres in the wet conditions which caught out most of us but we can’t complain.
“The car has been really good and I’m not far behind Dani who, you have to remember, has been second behind Loeb here three times in the past.”
French master Loeb, who has won in Germany for the past eight years, finished seven seconds in front of his team-mate, Sebastien Ogier, last night and more than a minute ahead of Ford’s Mikko Hirvonen.
The Fiesta of Ford No.2 Jari-Matti Latvala slipped to 15th with engine problems.
Petter Solberg and his Ulster co-driver Chris Patterson finished the day in sixth.
Craig Breen, who won last year’s Rally NI, was in second place in the WRC Academy section but Alastair Fisher, who had been third, dropped back to 11th after hitting trouble on the last stage of the day.