Stunning Monte performance leaves us wanting more
In a rare moment of accurate predicting, I said last week that it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Kris Meeke deliver some impressive performances in his 2016 part-season and he’s started rather well! Meeke was the only driver remotely in Sebastien Ogier’s league on the Monte and gave the event real interest for the first two days.
When news came through of his retirement, it briefly seemed as though he had been pushing too hard before crashing out. But the nature of his retirement – which even Ogier described as unlucky – removed blame from the Citroen man.
This all bodes well for next year, but what is a concern is how far off the rest were. With Meeke out of the equation, as he will be for much of this season, Ogier’s advantage was measured in minutes. In fairness, there were some mitigating circumstances. Jari-matti Latvala has never liked the season opener and will surely be better in later events, while the New Generation Hyundai is bound to improve as the team and drivers learn more about it. But even so...
The other talking point from the Monte was the relative performances from Elfyn Evans and his replacement in M-sport’s WRC Fiesta, Eric Camilli. It would be unfair to judge either on one round, but I suspect that Evans is already in a happier place than the Frenchman. Or than the Welshman was just a few weeks ago. ● As you will already have read, the plight of Lydden Hill is a worrying one. It might not be the biggest or most spectacular venues, but it is a great place to spectate, whether at its World Rallycross event or a humble clubbie. Here’s hoping it survives. Kevin Turner, Editor