Kris Meeke remains encouraged by his Rally Mexico performance despite twice retiring his Citroen DS3 with broken suspension.
Meeke, competing in Mexico for the first time, was an impressive fourth when he retired late in the first leg after clipping a small wall. He stopped for a second time after hitting a rock early in Sunday’s live TV Power Stage.
But the Northern Irishman took away ‘many, many positives’ from the first gravel event of the season.
“I covered all the kilometres and gained invaluable experience of the stages,” he said. “My pace was quite good, especially on the second pass. When you’re competing against guys who have been here six or seven times, to do the times we were doing, I was very happy.”
Meeke believes he was in the right place at the wrong time when the front of his DS3 hit a rock the size of a football on the inside of a sweeping right bend in the Power Stage.
“We had done that section of stage twice the previous day and our notes were good. I had ‘4 right, keep in’ in my notes. I kept in and ‘bang’ the wheel went back and it broke the suspension.
“I think the road deteriorated from all the cars being on the inside and this stone had appeared. Whoever was first on the road was possibly going to catch it,” added Meeke.
The 34-year-old, who finished third in the season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo, is in the middle of a run of four rallies of which he has little experience. Sweden, Mexico and Portugal are all new to him, and he has driven Argentina once, in a S2000 car.
“Nobody has ever been to Sweden and set the world alight the first time,” said Meeke. “I was in the top six and was very proud until we got caught on the inside of a corner and sucked into the wet snow. First time in Mexico, and we would have had a comfortable third without the errors.
“It has been an indifferent start but I knew it would be tough. I have reasonable knowledge of Sardinia and from there on everything gets more familiar, so we’re probably going through the teething phase at the moment. This sport will never always go for you, and you have to stand up when it goes against you,” he added.