Sports

Meeke’s luck out in Monte Carlo

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Meeke’s luck out in Monte Carlo thumbnailIt was not Kris Meeke's weekend in Monte Carlo. Photograph: Fergal Kelly.

DUNGANNON'S rallying star Kris Meeke has suffered early frustration and disappointment in the opening round of the 2017 World Rally Championship.

Kris started the first full leg of action on the classic Rallye Monte Carlo with high hopes.

He set a respectable time on the sole stage where he competed the previous evening and was looking forward to getting to know his new Citroen C3 WRC in what were expected to be consistent conditions in the mountains.

Things started well enough, as Kris and his co-driver Paul Nagle set the third fastest time on the opening stage of the morning - enough to move them up into second spot overall, around 16 seconds behind leader Thierry Neuville.

However, on the next stage, Kris was caught out by the road surface on a fast left-hand bend.

His C3 slid wide and clipped a bank, breaking its steering and forcing him out of the day's action.

He returned on Saturday, running under Rally2 regulations, but hit even further bad luck.

A further 25 minutes was lost on Saturday fixing an ignition problem on SS9 and he was classified 38th.

Then, when Kris' C3 WRC was making the journey from service in Gap to the event's Sunday base in Monaco when it was hit by another car, forcing him to retire.

Kris said: 'I'm gutted for the team on this one. I was driving carefully but it was so complicated, so tricky out there. You just had to live by your wits.

"On the fast left, I thought there was a bit more snow; it gives a bit more substance, so you get a bit more grip. But when we got there it was completely polished, totally ice.

"I'd committed to the corner and made my speed for it, but we just couldn't get round it. So we touched a bank on the outside and that damaged the steering. And that was that.

"I'm pretty gutted now, of course, but we're going to keep our chin up and not let this defeat us."'

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