Killarney co-driver Paul Nagle and his driver Kris Meeke marked their first ever appearance on a snow rally with a points place finish on Rally Sweden at the weekend.
The Tyrone/Kerry pairing finished tenth overall, one place behind leading Irish driver Craig Breen driving their Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally team’s DS3 World Rally Car.
They were running well inside the top ten for much of the rally but a mistake on the final day resulted in an off road excursion and they dropped from sixth place to 11th entering the final stage.
They inherited tenth when Welsh Ford Fiesta driver Elfyn Evans crashed on the very last stage of the rally. The incident cost the Irish crew nearly seven minutes as they had to dig the car out of the snowbank themselves.
It was another good weekend with more points on the board, “Nagle told The Kerryman.
The team are very happy with us. Unfortunately we got stuck in a snowbank on the last day, it was a slow corner and we just got sucked in – it is one those things you will always learn on your first visit to Sweden.
Meeke and Nagle are now seventh in the World Rally Championship, after starting Sweden in third place following their podium finish on Rallye Monte Carlo last month.
The next round is Rally Mexico which is scheduled for March 6-9. Meeke has never competed on this event before but Nagle finished sixth overall on this rally back in 2006 alongside Dubliner Gareth MacHale.
The rally was won by Finnish driver Jari-Matti Latvala with Norwegian Andreas Mikkelsen second to complete a Volkswagen Motorsport one-two. Firies mechanic Richard Browne is a mechanic with the German squad.
Meanwhile, the opening round of round of the Clonakilty Black Pudding Irish Tarmac Rally Championship took place in Galway over the weekend where Killarney crew Pat Sheahan and Martin O’Riordan took a class victory in their Honda Civic. Glenflesk co-driver Brian Doherty guided New York visitor Martin Donnelly to eighth overall in the national section in their Toyota Corolla World Rally Car.