Belfast Telegraph

Kris Meeke hit by Mexican stand-off

By Sammy Hamill

Kris Meeke suffered a disastrous start to Rally Mexico, crashing off the road on only the fourth stage.

The Citroen driver from Dungannon had been in fifth place after the spectator stages on Thursday night but immediately jumped to third with fastest time on the first of the proper mountain stages near Leon.

He was just 1.2 seconds behind the Volkswagen of World champion Sebastien Ogier, the leader, and within half-a-second of the Hyundai of Thierry Neuville.

But shortly afterwards, little more than a kilometre into the sweetly named but notorious 44km Chocolate stage, he went off the road, his DS3 Citroen becoming stranded.

He wasn't alone in falling victim to the pitfalls of Chocolate, former F1 star Robert Kubica breaking the suspension of his Ford Fiesta.

Earlier, there had been drama and concern when the Ford of Ott Tanak disappeared on stage three. Following drivers reported they hadn't seen the car anywhere in the stage. Eventually it emerged that Tanak's Fiesta had gone off the road, down a bank and into a lake.

Fortunately, Tanak and co-driver Raigo Molder were able to escape before the car sank.

At the front of the rally, Ogier, already winner of the first two rounds, had edged nine seconds clear of Neuville after the first loop of Friday stages. Jari-Matti Latvala in the second VW was third place with Meeke's Citroen team-mate Mads Ostberg fourth.

Meeke was expected to rejoin for the second leg today but with heavy penalties.

Belfast Telegraph


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