Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Meeke backs Sordo to give Loeb a hand

Dani Sordo played the role of perfect team-mate for Sebastien Loeb in Spain last weekend - now he has to do it again on the mountainous roads of Corsica as the World rally championship builds towards a knife-edge climax.

The 24-year-old Spaniard performed exactly as World champion Loeb and Citroen had hoped on his home round of the series, finishing second and helping his team leader cut the gap to Ford's Marcus Gronholm at the top of the drivers' championship to six points.

If he can again keep the Fords at bay on the Rally of France which begins on Friday there is every chance that Gronholm and Loeb will be virtually neck and neck with just three rounds remaining.

That, of course, assumes that Loeb will win again - but then he has won in Corsica for the past two years and has never been beaten by Gronholm on a tarmac rally.

It is why he and the Citroen team have targeted Rally Ireland, the penultimate round of the championship, as critical in their bid to prevent Gronholm bowing out as World champion.

But Loeb needs Sordo to play his part by providing a buffer between him and the Fords of Gronholm and Mikko Hirvonen.

He did it perfectly on Rally Cataluny and given that he is, like Loeb, a tarmac specialist, Sordo is expected to do exactly the same in Corsica.

Ulsterman Kris Meeke, who was Sordo's Citroen team-mate in the Junior World championship in 2005, has little doubt he will do it.

"Dani is fantastic on tarmac, probably as quick as Seb given the chance," says Meeke. "He'll give Seb all the support he needs."

Today is the deadline for Rally Ireland entries.

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