Belfast Telegraph

Kris Meeke: changes to World Rally Championship will cheat fans

By Sammy Hamill

Kris Meeke has voiced his opposition to plans to re-vamp the World Rally Championship next season.

The most radical change would see the winner decided in a shoot-out between the four drivers in the leading positions after the first two days of each rally.

Almost to a man the drivers are against the proposal, but it is expected to be ratified at a meeting of the World Motorsport Council in Beijing today.

As he prepared to start Rally Australia yesterday, the Abu Dhabi Citroen team driver from Dungannon said: "I think it is wrong to completely rip apart the DNA of our sport.

"I think you are going to cheat the fans because what is the point of us pushing hard for two days for it all to be decided on one stage.

"Why not just turn up on a Sunday and go flat out for five kilometres or whatever length the power stage is? I just think it is wrong, but if the powers-that-be think it is going to improve the promotion of the World championship I'll give it a go.

"In fact, I've said if we have to run the first 10 kms of a stage before we get in the car I'll still do it.

"I'll do anything to drive a in the World championship, it means that much to me, but I can't see the point in this proposal."

There is, of course, no guarantee it will affect Meeke. His place in the Citroen team for next season is still in the balance, team director Yves Matton having said he will decide after the German and Australian rounds.

Meeke led a World championship rally for the first time in Germany, but then crashed out, heaping even more pressure on his shoulders in Australia this weekend.

He made an encouraging start yesterday when he was fastest on all three runs through the shakedown stage ahead of team-mate Mads Ostberg and Hyundai's Thierry Neuville.

The Volkwagens of Jari-Matti Latvala and World champion Sebastien Ogier were fourth and fifth.

Meanwhile Daniel McKenna began his quest to become the third Irish driver to win the British championship when he started the Rally Isle of Man last night with a 22 point lead over Welshman Osian Pryce.

With the Manx event divided into two separate rallies and offering a possible 50 points to anyone who can win both legs, McKenna's position is still precarious. He opened up with fastest time on the first stage at Villa Marina in his Pirelli Star Driver Citroen DS3.

Also up for grabs is the British historic championship with two Ulster drivers, Dessie Nutt and Stanley Orr, in first and second.

Belfast Telegraph


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