Kris Meeke started off on a high note in Australia by taking the fastest time in qualifying but on the second leg of the event, Meeke crashed on the 13th special stage while sitting in fourth overall.
The Irishman has wanted the chance to prove himself and end up with a factory team ride. For Rally Australia, Citroen moved him into the seat that was held by Dani Sordo for the Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team after an impressive run in Rally Finland; despite the fact that Meeke ran off the road and ended up on the retirement list.
Like all top rally drivers, Meeke has the same dream of securing a full-time ride with a manufacturer, and he was aiming to impress Citroen with the hopes signing with the team in 2014. However, now there will be questions to why the accident happened that not only ended his chance for a top finish in Australia, but perhaps his hopes.
Prior to the qualifying, the Irish race said, “It’s important to show I can get the car to the finish this weekend.”
SS13 Nambucca stage is 49.90 kilometres, and at first it appeared he had everything under control when he rolled his Citroen just 20 km into the stage. He and co-driver Chris Patterson were uninjured in the crash.
Meeke said, “It’s quite simple. I went into a second gear corner and I arrived five or ten kph too fast. I thought I’d got away with it, but the car just slipped off the road. It nearly stopped, but unfortunately there was a very steep bank down into a field and it just kept tumbling. A very slow accident, but hey, an accident is an accident – the same result unfortunately.”
The only injury may be to Meeke’s pride as it was his second retirement, and he only contested two events for the French team this far.
It also will cost Citroen as they lost valuable points in the championship hunt. If the DS3 is repaired, Meeke can return under the rally rules but with loss of position and overall time.
And no doubt team boss team boss Yves Matton is not happy; however he and his cohorts were the ones who removed Sordo and replaced him with Meeke.