Kris Meeke has scored an emotional first World Rally Championship event win on Rally Argentina, the fourth round of this year’s series.
The Northern Irishman and his co-driver, Kerry’s Paul Nagle, started today’s final leg with a lead of more than half a minute over their DS 3 team-mate Mads Ostberg. However, despite a short final schedule of just over 20 miles, the Dungannon driver knew he could take nothing for granted – particularly since the final stages would be a pair of runs over El Condor, one of the most notoriously tricky roads in the entire WRC.
Kris maintained his cautious approach through both stages – a wise move, given that the last stage alone accounted for front-runners Thierry Neuville and Andreas Mikkelsen. By the finish line he had just over 18 seconds in hand over Ostberg, helping the Citroen Racing team to its first one-two since Catalunya in 2012.
Kris and Paul stood on the DS’s roof at the finish line in celebration, then an emotional Kris fought back tears as he paid tribute to his early mentor, the 1995 World champion Colin McRae. ‘What can I say? It’s been an exceptionally long road. Everything was fine until we got the end of the last stage. Once we had crossed the line, I was overcome with emotions. It’ll take time for it to really sink in.
‘I didn’t start the rally aiming to fight for the win. I just wanted to have an error-free rally. The seven-week break really helped me. From the shakedown onwards, I felt full of confidence. It was a really difficult race but the DS 3 WRC is a solid and reliable car. All the other guys had problems and we secured a one-two finish. Mads had a fantastic rally as well. I have to thank Yves Matton, who believed in me. He gave me a great opportunity and he has been supportive throughout. This is just the first step in me thanking him for that support. I hope there will be others. This one is for Colin McRae.’
Rally Argentina 2015 – Leading finishers
1 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (DS 3 WRC) 3h41m44.9s
2 Mads Ostberg (DS 3 WRC) +18.1s
3 Elfyn Evans (Ford Fiesta WRC) +3m27.4s
4 Martin Prokop (Ford Fiesta WRC) +6m26.1s
5 Dani Sordo (Hyundai i20 WRC) +10m46.7s
6 Khalid Al Qassimi (DS 3 WRC) +11m19.9s