Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Meeke relishes Aussie battle

By Sammy Hamill

Published 12/09/2015

Right track: Kris Meeke loses the lead in Australia but he's happy with his impressive performance
Right track: Kris Meeke loses the lead in Australia but he's happy with his impressive performance

Kris Meeke declared himself happy with his performance on the first leg of Rally Australia despite losing the lead to the Volkswagen of Jari-Matti Latvala on the final stage of the day.

The Dungannon driver re-started from Coff's Harbour late last night just two seconds behind Latvala but knowing he had to maintain the same consistent, error-free rhythm which saw him lead for much of the opening leg before being edged out by the Finn on the long, familiarly-named Newry stage.

With his new Citroen team-mate Stephane Lefebrve - a last-minute stand-in for the injured Mads Ostberg - suffering broken suspension on the same stage, the onus was on Meeke to deliver crucial points in the manufacturer fight with Hyundai.

He did all that was asked of him on day one, taking advantage of sixth starting position on the dusty gravel roads to lead from stage three until seven. However, it was that same starting place which caused him problems late in the day as the dust clouds intensified.

"Even though we lost the lead, I'm still happy," said Meeke. "We took advantage of our starting position in the morning to make a good start. I had a good rhythm and didn't take any risks.

"I couldn't do much more to defend the position, given the dust clouds that reduced our visibility over the last couple of stages. It is not much fun trying to drive in sixth gear when you can hardly see beyond the bonnet. We'll see how it goes from here, bearing in mind that the most important thing is to make it to the finish and bring home points."

Meeke was again the meat in a thick Volkswagen sandwich, two seconds behind Latvala and just under three ahead of World champion Sebastien Ogier with Andreas Mikkelsen in fourth. The Norwegian was followed by a trio of Hyundais with Dani Sordo fifth, Hayden Paddon sixth and Thierry Neuville seventh. The Fords of Ott Tanak and Elfyn Evans were eighth and ninth.

Lefebrve, driving a WRC Citroen on gravel for the first time, had been ninth until he hit a rock and broke the front suspension.

Belfast Telegraph

How to Complain

If you have a complaint about the editorial content of the Belfast Telegraph or Sunday Life then contact the Editor here. If you are not satisfied with the response provided then you can contact the Independent Press Standards Organisation here

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting?

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph