A prefectly-paced win for Kris Meeke Kris Meeke led from start to finish to secure a second consecutive win on the Rally Internacional de Curitiba, round two of the 2010 Intercontinental Rally Challenge. The weekend's result takes the Peugeot UK...
A prefectly-paced win for Kris Meeke
Kris Meeke led from start to finish to secure a second consecutive win on the Rally Internacional de Curitiba, round two of the 2010 Intercontinental Rally Challenge. The weekend's result takes the Peugeot UK representative's score to five wins in total, which makes him the most successful driver in the history of the series.
A wet rally !
Each year brings its own specific challenges, and this year's visit to Brazil delivered a stark contrast in weather terms compared with the conditions encountered on the same event twelve monts ago. In 2009, the first Rally Internacional de Curitiba to count towards the IRC was run in bright, hot weather, and dus twas a major problem. This time round, crews were greeted by heavy cloud cover, torrential rain and even flooding, which led to the cancellation of three stages.
There was one constant, however, and that was the name of the winner, since Kris Meeke was in dominating form once again in his Peugeot UK-entered, Kronos Racing-tended 207 Super 2000. The Ulsterman emerged in front from the ouset and his lead was never seriously threatened after that.
"Friday morning's stages were tough," he observed, although his smile and composure seemed to belie his words. "The rain and mud meant that grip kept changing all the time, and there were quite a lot of tricky places. My Peugeot handled very nicely and was perfectly balanced, though, and that enabled me to take it all in my stride."
The Briton quickly found himself some 20 seconds clear and he was soon in a position where he could control from in front.
What's impressive about Kris is the way he is prepared to drop a little time whenever he feels it is necessary in order to avoid having to take unwarranted risks. Mentally, he is very strong and so calm and collected. He knows that he will be able to make up that time later on, if and when required.
Meeke's first win of 2010 has taken him to third place in the provisional IRC standings.
Meanwhile, Bruno Magalhaès steered his Peugeot Portugal-backed 207 Super 2000 to fifth overall in Brazil and is now sixth in the Driver's points table.
"I had hoped for better," smiled the Portuguese driver, "but my most recent outing on gravel before this weekend dated back some nine months. It took me too long to find my marks again."
Bruno completed the opening day in fifth place and had hoped to up his pace for the second leg : "Unfortunately, my pacenotes for Saturday morning's stages weren't really suited to the terrain and my confidence took a knock. From that moment on, I decided to defend my position and use the final stages to try different settings that could be useful for the next rally."
On the Monday after the finish (March 8), the cars of the IRC regulars were trucked 2.200 km to the venue of the next round which is due to take place in Cordoba province, central Argentina, on March 19-21.
"Unlike certain other drivers, I have never contested the Rally Argentina before," points out Meeke. "But That won't stop me from trying to win..."
The combination of Meeke's victory in Brazil and Magalhaès' fifth place has taken Peugeot one place up the order into second place in the IRC's Manufacturers' standings.