Kris Meeke claims first WRC podium finish
January 19, 2014 by Leo Nulty
Kris Meeke has scored his first podium finish in the World Rally Championship with an excellent third overall on the first round of the 2014 season, the Rallye Monte Carlo.
The Northern Irishman and his co-driver Paul Nagle brought their Citroen DS3 WRC safely through one of the most chaotic days in recent WRC history, with one of the leg’s two stages held in appallingly wet conditions and the other run in deep snow.
In the end, Kris was among several drivers who received a notional time for the penultimate stage, and he and Paul negotiated the final, ultra-wet test to finish just over half a minute behind second-placed Bryan Bouffier, and just under two minutes off rally winner Sebastien Ogier. The result makes Kris the first British driver to stand on a WRC event podium since Richard Burns did so in Australia in 2003.
The Citroen pairing also scored a late bonus by taking third fastest on that final test. It was the ‘Powerstage’, so Kris gets an extra world championship point for his efforts.
Speaking to WRC radio’s Colin Clark at the finish line of the final stage, Kris said, ‘What a rally this has been – so crazy. I’ve never witnessed anything like the snow in the Col du Turini. And then in this last stage, there was just so much water on the road, everywhere; I don’t think I’ve ever driven so slowly.It’s a great result for us, and I really have to thank Yves [Matton, Citroen Racing Team Principal] for the faith that he’s shown in me. If I can finish this rally with no mistakes then I really think I can do it anywhere.’
Rallye Monte Carlo – top six finishers
1 Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (VW Polo WRC) 3h55m14.4sec
2 Bryan Bouffier/Xavier Panseri (Ford Fiesta WRC) +1m18.9sec
3 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Citroen DS3 WRC) +1m54.3sec
4 Mads Ostberg/Jonas Andersson (Citroen DS3 WRC) +3m53.9sec
5 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (VW Polo WRC) +6m08.3sec
6 Elfyn Evans/Daniel Barritt (Ford Fiesta WRC) +8m37.4sec