Can Meeke Join Rally Ireland?
Topics: Kris Meeke
September 3, 2007
Kris Meeke in the Pirelli backed Subaru WRC dominated the opening leg of the Armagh-based Philip White Tyres Ulster Rally. The event is a counting round of the Global Group Irish Tarmac Championship and the Tesco 99 Octane British Rally Championships.
Meeke, 27, had the edge and instantaneously took a lead of almost six seconds with British Championship rival, Guy Wilks in a Mitsubishi a fine third. Meeke was fastest on stages two and three but Tim McNulty punched in the best time for stage four, the spectator stage near Armagh city. Meeke controlled the proceedings from the front and took no undue risks on the night stages. On the penultimate test, he was some 13 seconds clear of Donnelly, who was quicker than his rival on the last stage - albeit by a fraction of a second, the Redtram International reported.
The temperature gets hotter and the Subaru water pump is needed to control it. But it seems that there arises one serious threat to Meeke’s escalating rally experience.
After winning the Ulster rally, aficionados are asking whether Meeke will be able to join the Ireland event in November. The answer is – he does not know. Meeke desperately wants to be part of Ireland's first World Championship rally but, as always, it will be dependent on the team’s funding.
To note, it will cost close to £40,000 to run a competitive car like the DMG Subaru S11 in which he annihilated the opposition on the Irish Tarmac and British championship event at the weekend, and the money does not exist at the moment.
"I wish I could say that I will be doing Rally Ireland, but I just don't know. Right now it is probably no," said Meeke. "I don't have access to that kind of money."
It will a travesty if Meeke does not make the November lineup. Despite it being just his third-ever drive on tarmac in a full WRC car, and his second victory in a row, he proved yet again that he is far and away Ireland's No 1 driver, reported Belfast Telegraph. He beat the Subaru S12 of triple Tarmac champion Eugene Donnelly by close to three minutes on what was largely a sprint rally, setting fastest times on 13 of the 16 stages - and the scary thing is, he rarely strayed outside what he calls his "comfort zone".
"I didn't take any chances and drove each stage at a pace I felt comfortable with," he said. "It was a question of doing what I felt was right for each stage. Could I have gone faster? Yes, if I had been pushed. But at the same time I was conscious of the fact that Pirelli had given me the chance to do this rally and I had to being the car home safely.”
"As well as that, the finger has been pointed at me in the past, accusing me of losing concentration when I've been in front, and I wanted to show once and for all I can stay focused. I just drove every stage as it came and didn't think about whether I was two minutes of two seconds in front." But he added: "This game is easy when it all clicks. The car was great, the team worked well and it was just about a perfect package."
Just like any other team, camaraderie pays off. Despite the shortcomings in other aspects, the team is in for a strong competition.
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