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World Rally Championship: Relaxed Meeke warms up for Sardinia test

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MINI WRC Team Launch, Oxford, 11 April 2011. Driving session with Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle (04/11). *** Local Caption *** MINI WRC Team Launch, Oxford, 11 April 2011. Driving session mit Kris Meeke und Paul Nagle (04/11).

MINI WRC Team Launch, Oxford, 11 April 2011. Driving session with Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle (04/11). *** Local Caption *** MINI WRC Team Launch, Oxford, 11 April 2011. Driving session mit Kris Meeke und Paul Nagle (04/11).

MINI WRC Team Launch, Oxford, 11 April 2011. Driving session with Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle (04/11). *** Local Caption *** MINI WRC Team Launch, Oxford, 11 April 2011. Driving session mit Kris Meeke und Paul Nagle (04/11).

Kris Meeke was putting on his best ‘Jacques Villeneuve look-a-like’ impression as he prepared to launch the new Mini Countryman WRC into the World Rally Championship in Sardinia.

Someone got their numbers mixed up and his brand new Mini team driving suit turned out to be a couple of sizes too big, leaving the ultra-fit Ulsterman looking like the Michelin Man.

“I’m going for the Jacques Villeneuve look this weekend,” he joked, referring to the ex-F1 World champion who favoured oversized overalls.

But there was serious business for Meeke and team-mate Dani Sordo ahead of today’s start to the Rally d’Italia, the debut event for the BMW Mini.

The 1600cc, turbocharged, four-wheel-drive cars were seen in action against the Citroen and Ford rivals for the first time on yesterday’s shakedown stage. Sordo was sixth fastest, ahead of Mikko Hirvonen and World champion Sebastien Loeb, with Meeke 12th after taking just two runs.

“I used it simply to make sure everything in the car was working and I’m happy enough,” he said afterwards.

Petter Solberg and his Ulster co-driver Chris Patterson were fastest in their Citroen DS3 on the shakedown stage ahead of the Ford Fiestas of Jari-Matti Latvala and Mads Ostberg.

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The Sardinian event also features the second round of the new WRC Academy series in which two of the front runners are rising Irish stars Alastair Fisher and Ulster Rally winner Craig Breen.


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