Meeke Takes Team Points After Tough Weekend In Turkey
KDM Hire rally driver Kris Meeke endured a tough Rally Turkey to come away with a solid haul of points for his Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team and consolidate his top-five position in the FIA World Rally Championship for drivers.
Meeke and co-driver Seb Marshall finished seventh after an eventful weekend on the rough, demanding gravel roads on the Marmaris-based event, but their performance was hampered by a number of incidents and a lace of pace on the rocky surface.
After a short blast through the streets on Thursday night, the rally started in earnest on Friday with six stages making it the longest day of action.
His first time tackling these stages of Rally Turkey, Meeke held a steady initial pace on the first loop, gaining experience and confidence as the morning went on. He took his Yaris WRC to the top of the timesheets on stage five to finish the day in a solid seventh position as the leading Toyota driver.
Saturday brought more dust with many drivers, including Meeke, struggling to see in some of the fast sections. And, when the rain came on stage nine, he dropped even more time when the worn tyres on his Yaris meant it was ‘like driving on ice’. A spin on stage 10 rounded off a time-consuming morning.
The afternoon saw a steady approach to try and minimise tyre wear but, with little tread left due to the abrasive conditions, Meeke lost traction on the final stage of the day and slid off the road briefly.
The final day on Sunday was all about maintaining position over the final four stages and bringing home important points for the manufacturer championship. It had been a tough event with Meeke struggling for overall pace on an event and surface that just didn’t seem to suit his Yaris WRC.
The next round remains on gravel but Meeke will swap the dust of Turkey for the mud and slippery forest roads of Wales Rally GB. His home round of the championship takes place in north Wales from 3-6 October.
Kris Meeke said: “This was a tough event and we struggled with pace right from the start. We had some problems on the long stage on Friday which resulted in a poor road position for Saturday and we had a bit more road cleaning to do. Our mission on the final day was just to preserve our seventh place and make sure we got as many manufacturer's points for Toyota as we could - and Seb Marshall and I have done that.
“That aside, it's been a tough weekend for us and the whole team. In general, we struggled for a bit of speed this weekend in the Yaris, so it really was damage limitation mode to keep the points loss to Hyundai as low as we could. Now we're all focused on being stronger in the final three remaining rallies of the season - starting with Rally GB in a few weeks' time.”