Belfast Telegraph

Trust remains as Meeke and Nagle leave Corsica crash firmly in the past

Happy returns: Kris Meeke is back at the scene of first WRC win
Happy returns: Kris Meeke is back at the scene of first WRC win

By Sammy Hamill

Kris Meeke insists the error by co-driver Paul Nagle which cost them a probable podium place on the Tour de Corse has not damaged their friendship or working relationship.

Nagle was quick to hold his hands up and admit he had called a wrong pacenote which sent them 30mph too fast into a corner and resulted in their Citroen flying off the road.

"I've made plenty of mistakes in the past but this was a rare mistake by Paul," said Meeke as they prepared to begin the next round of the World Championship in Argentina tonight.

"It happened on a rally where he calls hundreds of pacenotes for every stage and got slightly mixed up in the sequence, calling the corner 'five left' instead of 'three'. There was no possibility of taking the corner at that speed and we ended up in the trees.

"But we have put it behind us and moved on. We've been through good times and bad and nothing has changed in our relationship. I trust him totally."

It was Nagle, of course, who guided Meeke to his first WRC victory in Argentina in 2015 and to subsequent wins in Portugal, Finland, Mexico and Spain. But this season has been something of a rollercoaster with a strong showing in Monte Carlo (fourth) followed by a snowy exit in Sweden, third in Mexico and then the mistake in Corsica.

They are still in the top six in the World Championship but Meeke feels their position doesn't reflect the speed and consistency he has shown this year and is determined to move back up in the Championship standings.

He concedes, however, that Argentina represents a real challenge.

He said: "You have to treat this rally with the respect it deserves, the roads are rough and difficult and the weather may also be a factor. But it is a rally that I love and I've always been comfortable here, finishing on the podium twice in my four appearances, including my first WRC win."

The Dungannon man has Craig Breen back as his team-mate after the two-time Circuit of Ireland winner was stood down by Citroen to make way for the temporary return of Sebastien Loeb.

It was a decision criticised by many, among them Meeke, especially after Breen's strong start to the season in Monte Carlo. But he's back now and keen to get to grips with his C3 Citroen, which features a modified rear axle set-up for the first time.

The rally is based at Villa Carlos Paz in Cordoba and starts tonight with a short superspecial stage.

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