Citroen ral­lies around Na­gle

The Kerryman (North Kerry) - - SPORT - BY SEÁN MO­RI­ARTY

BOTH Kris Meeke and his Citroen World Rally team boss Pierre Boudar have backed Paul Na­gle after the Kil­lar­ney man’s made a rare er­ror that caused them to crash out of Rally Cor­sica on Satur­day.

Na­gle mis­read a pace-note and sent Meeke into a third gear cor­ner on a fifth gear in­struc­tion.

The Kerry / Ty­rone had just moved in a tie for se­cond place. Un­for­tu­nately, a pace note er­ror ended up in the Ul­ster­man go­ing off the road on Satur­day’s fi­nal stage.

They re­turned to ac­tion on Sun­day after the team worked late into Satur­day night to re­pair the car. They con­firmed their good space after se­cur­ing the se­cond fastest time on Sun­day on his re­turn un­der Rally 2 rules, be­fore fin­ish­ing third on the Power Stage,

Boudar said: “I’d like to pay trib­ute to the en­tire team for their hard work. They didn’t hes­i­tate to work un­til very late on Satur­day night and into the early hours of Sun­day morn­ing, first of all to re­cover our C3 WRC from the maquis and then re­pair it in record time.

“It was tough go­ing, but it was a fine ex­am­ple of great team­work and com­mit­ment! Es­pe­cially as it was im­por­tant for Kris and Paul to get back into the sad­dle quickly and put the pre­vi­ous day’s mis­for­tune be­hind them.

“Their good times on Sun­day show that they have al­ready put the in­ci­dent to bed and that they man­aged to pick up the pace again, look­ing ahead to the forth­com­ing events where I’m sure they will be de­ter­mined to put things right.”

It was Na­gle’s first er­ror in 11 years along­side the Ty­rone man at the sport’s top level and Meeke even ad­mit­ted that he was prone to sev­eral er­rors and Na­gle al­ways backed him in his bad times.

Speak­ing after the 55 kilo­m­me­tre stage on Sun­day, Meeke said: “After yes­ter­day’s dra­mas on the Tour de Corse, it was re­ally nice to have the op­por­tu­nity to get back at it to­day – for Paul and my­self, re­ally.

“Thanks to some stel­lar team­work from the me­chan­ics at Citreon Rac­ing our C3 WRC was fit for ac­tion again this morn­ing so we were able to get straight back into it - and on the long­est stage of the rally too, at 55km.

“We had a pretty good run through the stage and were se­cond fastest, and as you may have been watch­ing on WRC Al­lLive, I said at the end of it that ev­ery sin­gle pace-note in that 55 kilo­me­tres was per­fect – as they had all been for the past 11 years or so, be­fore yes­ter­day.

“So if Paul doesn’t make another mis­take for 11 more years from now, that’ll be fine; I’ll have my slip­pers and pipe by that point, I’m sure, and be en­joy­ing re­tire­ment!

“I was in a tight bat­tle for se­cond place when we had the ac­ci­dent yes­ter­day, but even then, it would be a strug­gle to keep Ott Tanak back this morn­ing be­cause his pace was very strong.

“The Toy­otas re­ally seem to have picked up their speed on dry as­phalt here. But of course, a podium was there for the tak­ing.

“That’s it, though. We don’t want to dwell on what hap­pened; in fact, we’ve al­ready moved on this morn­ing. Cor­si­can roads tend to get you back into a work­ing rhythm pretty quickly.”

On a side note, Meeke men­tioned Sun­day’s 55km stage, the en­tire 11-stage Cir­cuit of Kerry was run un­der 100kms giv­ing an idea to the amount of skill and ded­i­ca­tion Na­gle needs to per­form at this level and any crit­i­cism of him is un­just.

Kris Meeke of Great Bri­tain and Paul Na­gle of Ire­land com­pete with their Citroen Toal Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen C3 WRC dur­ing Day Two of the WRC France on April 7, 2018 in Ajac­cio, France Photo by Mas­simo Bet­tiol / Getty Im­ages

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