Off-road mishap is a very costly one for Kris Meeke
More misery for Kris Meeke. Another mistake saw the Dungannon driver drop from fourth place to 25th on the first leg of Rally Deutschland.
Already under pressure to retain his Citroen seat for next season, Meeke had started the German round of the World championship in familiar fashion, tracking the trio of Volkswagens as Sebastien Ogier led from Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen.
At the end of the first loop of four stages he was five seconds behind Mikkelsen and 12 seconds ahead of the leading Hyundai of Dani Sordo, despite bending a rear wheel when his DS3 clipped a kerb, but on the second of the afternoon stages, Meeke was caught out by a patch of loose gravel and went off the road into a field.
Although he didn't lose a great deal of time, a front suspension strut broke shortly afterwards and he had to nurse the car to the end of the stage, dropping 90 seconds. With no service and two more stages to complete before returning to Trier last night, Meeke had to rig up a temporary repair to complete the stages, but lost more than nine minutes.
In contrast it was a good day for Craig Breen who was in 14th place overall, second in the WRC2 category in his Peugeot. Jan Kopecky, in 13th, led after his team-mate and last year's Circuit of Ireland winner Esapekka Lappi crashed out. Marty McCormack was 21nd in his S2000 Skoda.