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Meeke's hat-trick hopes are thwarted

By Sammy Hamill

Published 01/10/2016

Crashed out: Kris Meeke suffered a puncture
Crashed out: Kris Meeke suffered a puncture

Kris Meeke's hopes of a third successive World Rally Championship win were dashed yesterday by a puncture on the third stage of the Tour de Corse.

The Dungannon driver, who won in Portugal and Finland for the Abu Dhabi Citroen team, had been in second place behind the Volkswagen Polo of World champion Sebastien Ogier after the first two stages in Corsica. But the puncture dropped him back to 11th, more than two minutes behind the French leader.

His Citroen team-mate Craig Breen was in fifth place at the end of the first leg last night as a dominant Ogier led by 44 seconds from the Hyundai of Thierry Neuville. Meeke had started strongly, just four seconds behind Ogier on the monster 50 kms stage which opened day one. But when the stage was re-run later in the day his DS3 Citroen suffered a flat wheel.

"It happened early in the stage and I don't know why; we didn't hit anything. There was still such a long way to go Paul (co-driver Nagle) and I had no choice but to stop an change it. We did in under three minutes but it has ruined our rally. Really frustrating."

Circuit of Ireland winner Breen, driving a WRC Citroen on tarmac for the first time, continued his strong performances, slotting into fifth behind the VWs of Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen.

Ulster Rally winner and new British champion Elfyn Evans led the WRC2 division in eighth place overall in his R5 Ford Fiesta.

Meanwhile, Colin Turkington says he will "fight to the finish" as the British Touring Car Championship concludes at Brands Hatch tomorrow. The two-time champion has only an outside chance of taking the title, sitting in seventh place, 39 points behind leader Sam Tordoff with just three races remaining.

Charlie Eastwood, already winner of the £50,000 bonus prize as top rookie in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB, is also in action at the Kent circuit as well as Daniel Harper who will be trying to defend his lead in the rookie category of the UK Ginetta junior series.

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