Kris Meeke has left Rally Sweden thinking 'what if' once again after another collision with a rock ended his chances of fighting for victory in the Abu Dhabi Total WRT Citroen.
The Northern Irish driver was cruelly denied a shot at winning Rallye Monte Carlo when he hit a rock which damaged his gearbox and forced him to retire from last month's event while running in second place.
It was a story of more misfortune for Meeke who bashed into another rock unsighted on Friday afternoon at Rally Sweden which snapped his front-right suspension arm and enforced a second straight retirement.
Meeke was able to return to the event under Rally 2 regulations and continued to set stage-topping times which left him dreaming of what may have been against the front-runners Sebastien Ogier and Hayden Paddon.
“For me it's been a rally of what could have been, but the speed was there. Victory was on the cards,” Meeke said. “Despite the weather in the lead-up to the rally, in the end, we were able to drive in typically wintry conditions and that can only be beneficial for us at next year's event.”
Meeke grabbed a small salvation by finishing third on the Power stage to claim a single bonus point by beating Hyundai's Thierry Neuville into fourth by just 0.003 seconds, despite his poorer starting slot by hitting the road second behind fellow Rally 2 returner Jari-Matti Latvala.
“I drove well on the Power Stage, even though I was a bit hesitant in places,” he said. “Once again, the conditions had changed so much since recce! It was no surprise that the guys behind me went quicker, because my starting position wasn't ideal on this stage.”
Watch highlights from the final day of the 2016 Rally Sweden