Kris Meeke has described the moments that very nearly saw him throw away victory on the Rally Mexico… by crashing into a car park.
The Briton was well on course for his and Citroen's first victory of the 2017 World Rally Championship season having a protected a comfortable lead over Sebastien Ogier since the second day of competition.
However, Meeke almost threw it away on the final Power Stage when he ran wide on a right-hander and slid into a gully that took him on a makeshift car park. Needing to turn around, Meeke found himself pointed in the direction of parked cars, squeezing between two before pulling a handbrake turn, passing more cars and returning to the stage road.
Watch Kris Meeke employ some impressive Ken Block Gymkhana skills to get out of this one…
Losing 30secs – and causing raised blood pressure amongst the Citroen team -, Meeke recovered himself to complete the stage and secure victory, much to his relief.
“It was a stupid mistake. I went on the brakes and the car went a bit sideways and went through a deep gulley. It put the car on an outside line and we went through a fence. It was in the hands of the gods after. It was not a big off but I had to find my way out. It was a nerve-wracking moment and, for sure, it was a mistake.”
Regardless, the result is a welcome one for Meeke and Citroen after disappointing performance from the new C3 on the opening two rallies .
“The most important thing was after two bad rallies we proved the potential of the C3. We had managed to do that yesterday as well. That was important. There was a lot of frustration in the team after two bad results. This is actually one of my least favourite rallies. I've never enjoyed it before, but at least we proved the potential of the car.
“We changed some things in the shakedown. It clicked together and we had a good road position on day one. I made a gap of 20 seconds, but I stalled and lost some time, about nine seconds. I was apprehensive on Saturday morning.
“I had only been here two times before and I knew what pace Seb [Ogier] was capable of. I was not sure if we could match him. After the first stage on Saturday, the difference was about one second and I thought that maybe could manage to do it."