Monday 11 December 2017

Meeke out to be king of Castle

Kris Meeke heads to Scotland with the double aim of winning his final rally with the Peugeot UK team and bowing out of the IRC series in style by stepping up to the top step of the podium at Stirling Castle on Sunday.

He also wants to make up for his disappointment of being stripped of his win last year because of a technical infringement.

As the penultimate IRC round the event has attracted a small but quality entry, headed by champion-elect Juho Hanninen followed by reigning champion Kris Meeke and last year's winner Guy Wilks.

As predicted in the Evening Herald, Keith Cronin returns to the Proton team for this event and will have Alistair McRae as team-mate on this occasion.

It will be Cronin's first time driving the car on gravel but he impressed on asphalt in the Czech Republic earlier in the year when he recorded a succession of top 10 stage times before crashing out. "My approach will be the same as on the Barum Rally -- start out quite steadily and see how we go. I'd like to think we're aiming for a top-five finish," said the two-times British champion.

As they complete their 2010 IRC campaign Danny Barry and co-driver Martin Brady are cautiously optimistic of a good result despite it being their first gravel outing this year. The pair will give DMACK tyres their debut in IRC competition on a four-wheel drive Group N car.

This will be the second of three British rallies Eamonn Boland has committed to round off his campaign this year. He will have Mickey Joe Morrissey on notes in his EvoX.

p Marty McCormack faces a 'clashing dates' dilemma for the second time in two weeks. He, along with Adam Gould, Alistair McRae and Niall McShea are the four drivers believed to be on the short-list to replace Meeke in the Peugeot UK team in the IRC championship next year. He entered a Subaru in Rally Scotland to showcase his talent as he has less top-line four-wheel drive experience than the others.

However, Citroen added another round to the French championship -- Rally Antibes -- which also takes place this weekend. He opted out of the Scottish event to concentrate on the French Citroen series in which he lies second and has travelled to the South of France this weekend.

He faces another change as his regular co-driver, David Moynihan, cannot travel because of work commitments and will be substituted by his cousin Liam who sat in with the Draperstown ace in 2008. If he scores sufficient points at Antibes he will stay on in France for the penultimate championship round the next weekend.

p Kris Meeke's trip to Sardinia worked wonders for both himself and fellow Peugeot 207 driver Paolo Andreucci. He led the event from start to finish setting fastest time on five of the seven stages while helping Andreucci clinch the Italian championship crown.

p The Motorsport Ireland autotest team travels to Alcester, Warwickshire, to challenge teams from Northern Ireland and England for the Ken Wharton Trophy this weekend.

The Irish team have won the event in five of the last six years.

p Stephen Daly was selected as the Dunlop Young Racing Driver of the Month for September. The Dunshaughlin teenager won both the two-litre class and finished third overall at the Leinster Trophy meeting in his Gala Engineering-backed Tatuus Formula Renault.

He also scored an outright Formula Libre victory at Kirkistown and several other class wins at Anglesey and Mondello Park throughout the year.

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