Belfast Telegraph

Meeke in a fight to survive rocky roads of Turkey

Kris Meeke
Kris Meeke

By Sammy Hamill

Kris Meeke and his Toyota team-mates went into survival mode on the opening leg of a hot, dusty and extremely rocky Rally Turkey.

Meeke was in seventh place but he was the leading Toyota driver and ahead of world championship leader Ott Tanak, as well as Jari Matti Latvala, as they sought to preserve their cars on the roughest round of the WRC series.

It was a tactic which paid off last year, with Tanak and Latvala finishing first and second, but last night they were well over a minute off the pace being set by the Citroens of Esapekka Lappi and Sebastien Ogier.

Former Circuit of Ireland winner Lappi was 17 seconds ahead of his world champion team-mate Ogier with Hyundai's Thierry Neuville third.

Meeke was a minute-and-a-half down on the leader after a day of 'rock dodging'.

"Some of them were as big as footballs. I managed to avoid most of them but the car still took a terrible hammering, and even the jacking point got damaged, which meant if I'd picked up a puncture I wouldn't have been able to change it," he explained.

"Overall our speed was okay but it wasn't quite enough to fight right at the front. But, as we've seen already, one stage can change a lot on this rally."

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