MEEKE’S TOP RESULT HELPS TEAM TO HISTORIC WRC VICTORY
KDM Hire’s world rally partner Kris Meeke secured his best finish of the 2019 season when his second overall at Rallye Deutschland helped secure an historic podium lock-out for the Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC Team.
Meeke and co-driver Sebastian Marshall sealed their first podium of the year and the first at the wheel of the Yaris WRC after a flawless performance on the challenging German asphalt roads. With a controlled drive, they helped take maximum manufacturer points for the team and secure the first 1-2-3 WRC finish for Toyota Gazoo Racing.
Dungannon-born Meeke set his own rhythm on the day’s opening stages through the vineyards around the Mosel valley on Friday. The wine region’s roads are extremely demanding with bumpy surfaces and high-speed sections mixed with sharp cuts through many of the corners to help drivers find the fastest line.
Meeke held fourth position after day one, just a few seconds adrift of current champion Sebastien Ogier in third and was sticking to the plan of driving his own race.
With over 150km, most of which was on the ultra-abrasive roads of the Baumholder military training complex, Saturday was easily the toughest leg of the weekend. Meeke stayed out of trouble while others faltered and after the first pass of the mammoth 41km Panzerplatte test he had jumped up two places to second after overhauling Ogier and benefitting from Thierry Neuville’s puncture.
Meeke went fastest through the second pass of that stage, the toughest of the entire event, to consolidate his second place, with Toyota holding all the podium positions ahead of the final day.
The trio cruised through Sunday’s final four tests in the Saarland countryside to bring home a memorable team result, with Meeke finishing runner-up to team-mate and WRC drivers’ championship leader Ott Tanak.
The series switches back to gravel now and to the rough, rugged stages of Rally Turkey which is based in Marmaris from 12-15 September.
Kris Meeke said: “I’m delighted after what has been a really strong weekend for both us and the entire team. I could have had four or five, maybe six podiums already this year, and through different issues and my own mistakes, we never got there.
“To be on the podium and to bring a big haul of points to Toyota with a perfect score, a 1-2-3, it’s special to be part of this weekend. To take maximum points for the manufacturers’ championship is really important. I felt good in the Yaris all weekend, it gave me great confidence, and I definitely was able to drive at a good speed and be comfortable. We had a plan of driving at our own pace and rhythm this weekend and everything went to plan.”