Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Meeke is real winner for Citroen

Kris Meeke will drive for Citroen Down Under
Kris Meeke will drive for Citroen Down Under

Maybe it was just coincidence but Dani Sordo finally won his first World championship rally two weeks after it was announced he would be replaced in the Citroen team by Ulsterman Kris Meeke for the Rally of Australia next month.

The Spaniard had made more than 100 WRC starts but never attained the top place on the podium until last weekend's Rally Deutschland where he held off the challenge of Ford's Thierry Neuville to win for the first time.

Sordo has had a disappointing season since his return to Citroen to replace the retired nine times world champion Sebastien Loeb, until his win in a dramatic rally which saw the dominant Volkswagen's of Sebastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala crash out, the latter while leading.

It proved a tough event for Cork's Keith Cronin and his Ulster co-driver Marshall Clarke who overcame a series of setbacks to finish second in the WRC3 class.

His Citroen DS3 suffered brake failure on the first stage, a puncture on the second and then a brake pipe broke when the suspension was damaged by a vicious dip where the road had been washed away on stage three.

He lost a further 90 seconds in road penalties effecting repairs but still fought back to finish second behind Frenchman Sebastien Chardonnet.

However, Cronin, who had won in Finland, slipped to second place in the important Top Driver series and is now four points behind Chardonnet with the French and British rounds remaining. His Charles Hurst Belfast/DGM team are second in the teams' standings.