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MEEKE CELEBRATES BEST FINISH AFTER STRONG RALLY ARGENTINA

29 April 2019

Kris Meeke sealed his best finish of the year after claiming fourth place at Rally Argentina last weekend. Meeke had been one of the fastest drivers all weekend and missed out on the final podium place by just over a second after being slowed by a punctured tyre on the final competitive stage.

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The first event in a South American double-header, Rally Argentina was based in the province of Cordoba and saw competitors race on gravel tracks across open plains and high in the lunar-landscape mountains. Hundreds of thousands of fans flocked to the iconic event which was made even tougher this year by heavy rain in the days leading up to the event.

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Behind the wheel of his Toyota Gazoo Racing Yaris WRC car, Meeke made the perfect start going fastest on the second stage and swiftly moved into the rally lead by stage three – dominating in the tricky, wet conditions.

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However, he lost third gear during the afternoon and, struggling with traction, slipped back to fourth by the end of the day.

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Meeke again set a string of top times during Saturday’s loop to the north of Villa Carlos Paz but lost his brakes and couldn’t get slowed on the approach to a water-splash and collided with a rock – damaging both tyres on the right side of his car. He fought back with a strong performance on the other stages and finished the day in third place after battling back up the leader-board.

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The stage was set for a stunning finale on Sunday high in the mountains above Mina Clavero, famed for its spectacular landscape and packed with 100,000 fans. Meeke edged further ahead of current world champion Sebastien Ogier but on the final test he picked up a puncture and dropped out of third place by just 1.4 seconds.

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Although disappointed not to secure his first podium with the Toyota team, it was his best finish of the season and moves the Dungannon driver up to fourth in the championship standings. The next event is in neighbouring Chile in two weeks’ time, the first time the country has hosted a WRC round.

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Kris Meeke said: “We had lots of different problems this weekend, including three punctures, and still finished just a minute back from the winner. We have the pace, we have the speed and have shown that on every rally this year. The consistency will come and we will continue to fight for that first podium this year.

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“It was another challenging event, the rain made the stages very slippery on Friday and Saturday. It was difficult to read the grip but when it dried out the roads were fantastic to drive.”

MEEKE CELEBRATES BEST FINISH AFTER STRONG RALLY ARGENTINA