Belfast Telegraph

Angry Meeke rues closing stage slip that leaves him in third place

 

By Sammy Hamill

Kris Meeke began the second leg of Rally Australia last night in third position but annoyed with himself for a small error which cost him at least one place on the leaderboard.

He and co-driver Paul Nagle in their Citroen C3 finished day one of the final round this year's World Championship 20 seconds behind the Hyundai of Andreas Mikkelsen, the leader, and less than a second down on Thierry Neuville.

In fact, Meeke, making the most of a lower starting position, had been in second until the final stage, two sprints round the short spectator stage at Coff's Harbour, where Neuville edged ahead by seven-10ths of a second.

He felt he would have been on Mikkelsen's tail but for the mistake, which cost him a dozen seconds or more although causing no damage to his car.

Urged by team boss Yves Matton to push as hard as possible, Meeke explained: "I was a bit frustrated to lose time with my wee mistake on the third stage. I had too much speed coming into a corner and we ran wide off the road and into bushes.

"I had to turn and go again and lost a dozen seconds or so. Apart from that, everything went well."

Citroen team-mate Craig Breen was in a three-way battle for fourth with Toyota's Jari-Matti Latvala and Ford's Ott Tanak - all three covered by three seconds.

Sebastien Ogier, already assured of a fifth successive World title, was back in eighth place.

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