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Meeke enjoys Spanish victory

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Meeke enjoys Spanish victory thumbnailKris Meeke took his fifth WRC event win in Spain Credit: Fergal Kelly

DUNGANNON'S Kris Meeke held his nerve to clinch his fifth win in a World Rally Championship event in Spain.

Leading by 13 seconds over night, Meeke won five of Sunday's final six stages as he finished 28 seconds clear of World Champion Sebastian Ogier.

Meeke's win eases the pressure on him after he exited in several events this season following his victory in Mexico.

"It has been an exceptional weekend," said the 38-year-old.

"It is not how many time you get knocked down, it is how many time you get back up again.

"The car was exceptional on tarmac and we were able to keep in the mix on Friday on the gravel. It was a very special win."

After trailing by three seconds after Friday's opening day, Meeke took the lead on Saturday's first stage and never relinquished it.

Meeke extended his lead further on Sunday's loop, setting the fastest time in the first five stages to take a 27.3 second lead over Ogier and Tanak into the final stage.

There was little let-up from Meeke as he finished second in the concluding power stage, with no repeat of the late drama in Mexico when he slid off into a car park before finding his way back to the road.

After the Mexico win, crashes in Monte Carlo, Sweden, Portugal, Argentina, Italy and Germany along with an engine failure while leading in Corsica, marred his campaign.

His regular exits led to him being dropped for Rally Poland during the summer but the Northern Irishman will hope his fifth WRC victory will help secure his Citroen drive for 2018.

As news of his victory spread, Ulster Unionist MLA Rosemary Barton was keen to congratulate the Dungannon man on his tremendous performance.

 "Kris Meeke is a shining example of the talent from Fermanagh and South Tyrone," she said.

 "This latest victory in Spain is his second such win this year and I wish him many more successful events in the future."

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