Belfast Telegraph

Kris Meeke has his feet back on the ground after historic triumph

By Sammy Hamill

Kris Meeke may have had time to savour his sensational Rally Finland success as he settled back into the luxury seats of a private jet flying out of Jyväskylä. But today he was back to earth and getting on with his 'day job'.

After becoming the first British driver to win the Finnish round of the World championship, Meeke and co-driver Paul Nagle celebrated with Craig Breen and Scott Martin, who finished third, and the rest of the Citroen team on Sunday night.

But yesterday while Breen and Nagle flew back to Dublin, Meeke was on board the jet bound for the next stage of the development programme of Citroen's C3 car for 2017.

On the flight he joined Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi who not only finished 16th on the rally along with his Ballyclare co-driver Chris Patterson but is responsible for the team's Abu Dhabi sponsorship.

Officially Citroen are taking a gap year from the World championship with Meeke leading the test sessions of the all-new, faster, more powerful car. He has competed only four times this season, leading each time and winning in Portugal and Finland.

Reflecting on his Finnish victory he said: "When you dream you hope it can become reality but I never suspected I could do it in the fashion we did. I don't think it will get much better than this in terms of rally wins. It's my goal to try to win the World championship in the next two years but I think we did something special."

But despite his historic win, Citroen have no plans to change Meeke's limited WRC schedule.

Citroen remain coy about when the Dungannon driver will be back in action again. The next round is Rally Germany in mid-August which Meeke is expected to skip but sources close to the team suggest he will go to Rally China in early September.

It is an event new to the championship this year and the team will not want rivals like Volkswagen and Hyundai to gain an advantage ahead of their big push for the World title in 2017.

In addition China is a huge market for Citroen.

Belfast Telegraph


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