KILARNEY co-driver Paul Nagle and his Tyrone driver Kris Meeke resume their World Rally Championship bid on this weekend’s Rally Mexico.
The event represents a new challenge for the Irish Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally team crew. Set in the Sierra de Lobos and the Sierra de Guanajuato, the rally climbs to the highest point of the WRC season, reaching a peak of some 2,736 metres above sea level where cars will suffer from down on power engines due to the altitude.
After the tarmac of Monte Carlo, where the Irish team finished third and the snow and ice of Sweden the crews are now preparing for the first gravel rally of the season which gets underway on Thursday of this week.
Meeke has has never competed n Mexico before, unlike Nagle, who competed in León in 2006 and 2007 alongside Dublin driver Gareth MacHale.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]
Citroën WRC 2013 – Rallye du Mexique – Best of by citroenracing[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]”It won’t be the same as in the last rally, where I had to get used to driving on snow,” said Kris.
This time, it’s on gravel and so it should be a lot simpler because I already have a fair bit of experience on this surface. But Mexico requires a very different set-up. I have worked on the videos and have listened carefully to advice from the team. I still have some learning to do, but I’m pleased with the set-up that we found in testing. The drop in power output could be an advantage for me because I have a lot of experience of competing in cars with normally-aspirated engines. You need a slightly different driving style and so that shouldn‘t be problem for me. I’ll be concentrating on my own race. I know that I’ll have a good starting position for the long first day. The aim is to score as many points as we can on the overseas events. I’d be pleased with top five finish.
Meek and Nagle arrive in Mexico holding seventh position in the series in their Citroen DS3 World Rally Car. The manufactures element of the championship is being led by Volkswagen and there is plenty of Kerry interest in that squad too as Firies man Richard Browne is a mechanic with the team.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]
On the home front, the Dunlop National Rally Championship gets underway on Sunday with the Mayo Stages Rally. There are several Kerry crews on the entry list, with Maynooth-based Ballyduff man Kevin Barrett the fifth seed in his Subaru Impreza WRC S14.
Kilorglin crew Fergus O’Meara and Mikey Galvin are attempting the National series for the first time in their Ford Escort, while the Tralee crew of PJ O’Dowd and John Young will be hoping to add the National Historic Rally title to the Top Part West Coast series they won last year.
Current Dunlop Junior champion Rob Duggan and co-driver Noel O’Sullivan Jr step up to the championship proper this year in their Honda Civic.