Kris Meeke - Monte Carlo

Posted: January 28, 2003 11:34 AM - 7130 Hits

Kris Meeke made a remarkable impression on his Monte Carlo Rally debut.

Of the twenty-three Junior World Championship contenders, Kris set an impressive pace, with a fifth fastest time on SS1. A wrong tyre choice for the ice and snow on the next stage, dropped the Team Palmer Opel crew over one minute forty seconds to the leading S1600, Daniel Carlsson.

Posted: January 28, 2003 11:34 AM

On the third stage I ran slightly wide, no more than six inches, but touched the snow at the edge of the road and the car slid up onto the snow bank. There was no damage, but it wouldn't move and when spectators tried to pull it free the car slipped further down the bank. It took another 15 minutes to get it back on the road.", explained Kris

At almost thirty miles, SS5 was the equal longest stage of the rally. Kris again set a top six time, although the overall result is now of little relevance. SS6 was a repeat of the previous stage, but this time in the dark. Kris picked up a puncture from a manhole cover kicked up by previous competitor, which cost him eight minutes as they changed the wheel rather than risk damaging the engine or transmission

"This rally is incredible. The concentration required in these conditions is immense, as there is absolutely no margin for error. After our slight off and a puncture on Friday, there was nothing we could really do, only try and finish and gain as much experience of the rally as we could," said Kris.

Leg three, near Sospel, included two runs over the classic Col du Turini, and Kris did not miss the opportunity to impress, setting two second fastest times, just behind eventual JWRC winner and French Champion, Brice Tirbassi.

"To come to Monte Carlo for the first time with a new car, and very limited testing, I was not expecting much. Team Palmer has done an exceptional job with the car, and it has given me a lot of hope for the remainder of the season. Ideally we would liked to have taken some points for our efforts, but after our trouble on Friday, we were then relying on others dropping out.

"Even so, with a couple of good stage times on the awesome Col du Turini, it has lifted our spirits, and has given the team an idea of what the car, and myself, are capable of."

The next round of the JWRC is in Turkey in five weeks time. With the risk of war in the Middle East, a decision is to be taken soon on whether the event will actually take place.

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