Kris Meeke’s Battle For Second Place
Despite a series of crashes that has hurt Kris Meeke’s chances at placing, he has maintained his second place position at the end of day two in the Australian Rally. This is vital for Meeke to continue driving forward towards his goal of next year’s world championship victory.
Meeke has been put under a lot of pressure to hold onto his Citroen drive, a challenge he has been facing while trying to recover from his recent string of crashes. He finished in second place, coming just .30 of a second behind first place driver Sebastien Ogier.
The final stage was set at night which caused poor visibility, so drivers were set off at five minute intervals to minimize crashing. This affected the middle and later stages greatly as a large amount of dust was thrown up, lowering the visibility of drivers that followed up the early stage drivers.
Overall, the Dungannon man had placed two seconds behind Jari-Matti Latvala throughout the night, and have put himself 2.3 seconds in front of Finn. Ogier ended up getting pushed up after beating Meeke by 2.7 seconds on the 11th stage. This has placed Latvia 2.6 seconds behind Ogier, with drivers Hayden Paddon, Ott tanak, and Andreas Mikkelsen within 40 seconds ahead of him.
Five more stages will be ran on Sunday, which will add to the event’s mileage totaling for 192.20 miles.
After placing in second Meeke spoke with some of the FIA officials, but he had refused to make any media comments about the run. However, it was quite evident that Meeke was angered by the run, which was most likely due to his struggle through Valla. Ogier’s Volkswagen team-mate Jari-Matti had lowered the gap between them by two seconds while Meeke had also extended the gap with Nambucca, adding to his frustration.
Meeke received a warning from Citroen boss Yves Matton following the German Rally of last month, stating that Meeke’s spot on the 2016 team was in jeopardy as a result of his crashes. This was in response to the crashes he was involved in with Italy, Poland, and Finland’s rallies. Despite the warning, Meeke ended up having another mishap in Germany, getting into yet another crash that resulted in a 12th place finish at the end of the run.
The good news for Meeke is that he didn’t crash in the Australian Rally, but that also follows up with some bad news. While he was able to maintain second place, some of his competitors have closed in on the gap and holding onto that position is quickly becoming increasingly difficult.
Meanwhile, Ogier is doing well and is leading by a total of 93 points. If he manages to finish in front of Latvala, he will claim his third consecutive world title.