| 11.1°C Belfast

Intercontinental Rally Challenge: Kris Meeke in frame to finish with a flourish

Kris Meeke has given himself the perfect build-up to his final appearance in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge in Scotland.

Meeke won the Costa Smeralda Rally in Sardinia as he played his part in helping Peugeot Italy driver Paolo Andreucci clinch his fifth Italian championship and put Peugeot in pole position to win the manufacturers’ category with one round left.

Skoda driver Jan Kopecky went to Sardinia needing victory to keep the Italian title race alive, but he was out-paced by the Peugeot Sport 207 of Meeke, who led from the opening test and was quickest on five of the seven stages to win by more than a minute.

Andreucci, who had won the Sardinian round of the Intercontinental Challenge earlier in the year, settled for the third place he needed to become Italian champion for the second year in succession.

Meeke now moves on to next weekend’s Rally of Scotland where the out-going IRC champion from Dungannon will drive for the Kronos Peugeot team for the last time before moving on to join the new BMW Mini team in next season’s World championship.

Meanwhile, Garry Jennings won the Donegal Harvest Rally, but only after a last minute scare.

The Kesh driver had led throughout and was 77 seconds ahead going into the final stage only for the front suspension of his McKinstry Motorsport Subaru to break.

Jennings nursed the car to the finish and just managed to hold off the Subaru of Seamus Leonard which had closed to within 18 seconds.

Niall Maguire had been in third place, but his Subaru also broke its suspension on the final stage, forcing his retirement and allowing Gary McPhillips to complete the top three in his Ford Escort.

Belfast Telegraph