Dungannon’s Kris Meeke and his Killarney co-driver Paul Nagle, have won Rally Spain, the latest round of the world rally championship (WRC), his second win of the season to add to his earlier victory in Mexico in their Citroen C3.
Meeke and Nagle have had a frustrating season since that Mexican win back in March and Meeke in particular accused members of the Citroen team of undermining his position in the team.
All that was put to one side in Spain as Meeke took his Citroen to a 28-second win from the M-Sport Ford Fiesta of Sebastian Ogier, the reigning world champion with the Fiesta of Estonian Ott Tanak in third place, five seconds behind Ogier.
Thirty-eight-year-old Meeke moved to the top of the leaderboard thanks to a victory on Saturday's opening stage seven and three further top-three finishes as the rally switched from gravel to asphalt worked in his favour as he took a 13-second lead into the final day.
Meeke then won five stages in a row before the final power stage 19 where he finished second to give Citroen a pick-up in what has been a frustrating season for the team and drivers.
It's Meeke’s fifth WRC win.
"It’s been an exceptional weekend,"said Meeke.
"We always knew that the car was good on Tarmac so we got through on the gravel on Friday and the C3 has been incredible here."
"It’s not so important the many times you are knocked down, it’s about how many times you are able to stand back up again."
"It’s a special special win."
Ogier has extended his lead in the WRC standings and now leads the series by 37 points with two rounds remaining.
Waterford’s Craig Breen sat out the Spanish round as the French manufacturer opted to run French driver Sebastian Lefebvre,
Breen who has five fifth-placed finishes to his credit in the Citroen in this year’s WRC, will return for the last two rounds, Rally GB later this month and Rally Australia in November.