Fighter Meeke relishes Spain win
Kris Meeke believes his dogged determination to fight back from career knockdowns helped him return to the winner’s podium in Spain on Sunday.
He secured his second WRC victory of the season at RallyRACC Catalunya - Rally de España, just three rounds after being controversially axed from the Citroën Racing line-up in Poland following an accident-plagued year.
Meeke’s 28.0sec win over championship leader Sébastien Ogier relieved the pressure on his shoulders after crashing in the opening street stage at the previous round in Germany.
“It’s not important how many times you fall down, it’s more important how many times you stand up again. This is my fifth victory now. We know we can win rallies, we just have to fill in the gaps,” said Meeke.
“I tend to find myself in some difficult situations at times throughout my career and to be able to come back is the important thing. It’s been a difficult middle part of the season for everybody.
“It’s important to lift the team spirit and keep going in a good way but it doesn’t change the world. We know we have work to do in certain areas but to taste the champagne after a little break is great. It’s important to bounce back.”
The 38-year-old Briton dominated the mixed surface Salou-based rally after it switched from dirt to smooth asphalt for the final two days.
He ended Friday’s gravel leg in third, just 3.0sec off the lead. He charged to the front on Saturday’s opening asphalt speed test and was never headed, winning eight of the 19 stages to add to his early-season Mexico win.
“We hadn’t tested on the Spanish Tarmac and I knew the others had. I said I needed to be on my game in the opening asphalt stage because maybe they would steal a gap on me. My rhythm was able to turn it the other way,” he said.
Citroën’s C3 has excelled on asphalt all season but handling problems have blighted its gravel progress. Meeke acknowledged that being in the leading pack on the gravel left him perfectly placed with the asphalt to follow.
“We knew the potential of the car on dry Tarmac and we made little steps on the gravel on Friday. It was a similar type of surface and profile to Mexico so we knew it wouldn’t be so bad. I was able to hold my own,” he added.
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