Meeke wins Rally Mexico via car parkposted in WRC12 | 03 | 2017

    KRIS MEEKE, THE Northern Irishman mentored by the late Colin McRae, won his fourth World Rally Championship event, Rally Mexico, by just 13.8secs. But in true flamboyant McRae style, Meeke’s win came after a dramatic excursion into a dusty car park on the final stage, just 750 metres from the end of the four-day event.

    After sliding left on the dusty, slippery stage, within sight of the finish line, Meeke and co-driver Paul Nagle found themselves deep in a spectators’ car park.

    Barely missing two cars by inches when he slid off, somehow the Irishman from Dungannon found gaps through parked pick-ups and city cars, and barely managed to keep his Citroen C3 WRC away from hurtling through a beer tent.

    The duo them identified a gap in a hedge which allowed them to get back on the stage trailing metres of red and white tape behind them.

    “Aye, we almost threw it away at the end,” Meeke, who led the rally from early on the first of three days gravel action and entered the final stage leading by 40secs, said after learning he’d won the rally.

    "I made a big mistake. I braked and got the car too sideways through this fast right, and as I hit the compression it popped me out and we went into a field.

    Meeke-Mexico-1.jpg

    "After that I was in the hands of the Gods. I started to go through some trucks and they started to narrow up.

    "I thought I was going to come to a dead end so I handbraked around a truck to go back the way I came, not knowing there was a way out until I saw a gap in the fence and went for it.

    "I'm not particularly delighted with myself, but we've won the rally, so I'm happy. I had no idea I'd won when I crossed the line, but quickly people started shaking their fists and then I knew.

    "I'm sure (Citroen boss) Yves Matton will shake his fist at me later for a different reason!"

    Meeke-Mexico-4.jpg

    Such was Meeke’s shock, after clinching Citroen's first win with its new-for-2017 C3 WRC car, that he could not climb on to the roof of his car at the end of the stage to celebrate. Thankfully, co-drive Nagle was there to give him a helping hand.

    Four-time world champion Sebastien Ogier finished second. The Ford driver eased himself into the lead in the world championship with a controlled final stage. Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville bagged the final step on the podium.

    Welshman Elfyn Evans finished a distant ninth in his Ford Fiesta, having started the rally with a 5min penalty for a late engine change. Without the penalty he’d have finished sixth.

    Related: Meeke bags emotional GB podium

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    Jim McGill

     

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