Citroen rallies around Nagle
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