Belfast Telegraph

Disappointment for Meeke but it's heartbreak for team-mate

 

Ott Tanak
Ott Tanak

By Sammy Hamill

There was more disappointment for Kris Meeke in Sardinia but it was nothing to the devastation which hit his Toyota team in a heartbreaking finish to Rally Italia.

With the rally seemingly won and a third victory in a row for Meeke's team-mate, Ott Tanak, all but assured, the young Estonian's WRC Yaris suffered power steering failure on the final stage and he had to wrestle the car to the finish, dropping close to three minutes.

It handed a surprise win to Hyundai's Dani Sordo, just a second in his long career, with Teemu Suninen taking second for Ford and Andreas Mikkelsen making two Hyundai's on the podium after the Norwegian edged out Elfyn Evans by less than a second on the last stage.

Meeke had been battling with both Mikkelsen and Evans for fourth for most of the first two days until a puncture on the final Saturday stage forced him to stop and change the wheel, dropping back to eighth.

But his thoughts afterwards were for the unlucky Tanak. "Ott was in spectacular form this weekend - one of the most dominant performances I think we've ever seen in the World Rally Championship.

"For him to lose it at the end was really desperately cruel. He didn't deserve it and the team didn't deserve it.

"It's not easy to accept sometimes. I'm so disappointed for him."

Tanak fell back to fifth, finishing ahead of Hyundai's Thierry Neuville, the Citroen of Esapekka Lappi and Meeke.

In Belgium, Marty McCormack finished in sixth place in his R5 Skoda Fabia in Rally van Wervik on an acclimatisation run ahead of the next round of the British Championship, Rally Ypres, in a fortnight's time.

"It was good to some mileage under my felt and get used to Belgian stages again before Ypres," said the former British junior champion from Draperstown.

Charlie Eastwood completed his first Le Mans 24-hour race but the Aston Martin driver had to settle for 12th in the GTE/AM class, 44th overall. Toyota were the outright winners.

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