Belfast Telegraph

Meeke fumes as he finds himself losing out in a rut

By Sammy Hamill

Kris Meeke was a frustrated and angry fifth as day two of the Rally of Poland turned into a fruitless trek across the border into Lithuania.

The drivers were due to complete four stages in the Baltic state but the gravel roads cut up so badly two of them were cancelled.

Even the two that did run were so heavily rutted that only the first few cars could set competitive times.

Meeke was in third place in his Abu Dhabi Citroen behind the Volkswagens of World champion Sebastien Ogier and Norwegian Andres Mikkelsen as they crossed the border into Lithuania but he dropped two places as he tried to protect his car.

"The roads are [expletive] destroyed," fumed the usually mild-manner Meeke. "There were ruts a foot deep after four or five cars. It's so frustrating when there's nothing you can do, especially after all this road mileage to get here."

Drivers like Alastair Fisher, competing in the two-wheel-drive division, fared even worse and he was back in 33rd place, third in WRC3, after crawling through the stages with his Citroen stuck in the ruts and the bottom scrapping the ground.

At the front, Mikkelsen had edged back in front of Ogier by one second after nine of the scheduled 24 stages and Meeke's team-mate Mads Ostberg was third ahead of VW's Jari-Matti Latvala.

Meanwhile, another Ulster driver has been so successful this season the organisers of the British Touring Car Championship have taken steps to curtail his quick getaways. Not just Colin Turkington, of course, but all drivers in rear-wheel-drive cars like his eBay Motors BMW.

However, it was mainly Turkington's performances in recent races – like his two start-to-finish victories at Oulton Park – which sparked discontent among his championship rivals who claimed the BMW and other rear-wheel-drive cars have an unfair advantage.

Turkington, the 2009 champion and leading the series again going into tomorrow's races at Croft, doesn't agree.

"We've been trying to see what we've got with the longer gear, but it's hard to know until you're in a race," he said.

"It doesn't affect the car once it's up and running and I think we'll be competitive at Croft. We were quick there last year and it suits RWD, but there are no guarantees."

Turkington currently leads the series by nine points.

Belfast Telegraph


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