Kris Meeke became the first British Rally driver to win a WRC event for 13 years. Fittingly, the last person to win at World level for UK rallying was the late, great Colin McRae after he guided his Ford Focus to victory in the Kenyan Safari Rally, back in 2002 – a win that gave the popular Scot his 25th WRC win.
Picture credit: RedBull Content Pool
Meeke’s win, his first ever victory at an FIA World Rally Championship event is a real shot in the arm to UK rallying, Additionally, the third placed podium of countryman Elfyn Evans topped of an incredible weekend for UK rallying. Meeke and Irish co-driver Paul Nagle won the XION Rally Argentina (23-26April) in their Citroen DS3 beating the best that the world of rallying has to offer by a mere 18 seconds.
Indeed, it was Colin McRae who spotted Meeke’s potential very early in the Dungannon man’s career and helped him throughout his difficult early days of trying to get established in this fiercely competitive sport. When Meeke first moved over to the UK he stayed with Colin McRae at the family home in Lanark who continued to support him through his first foray into the International Rally Challenge and the Junior World Rally Championship.
Such was McRae’s influence on the Irishman, when he climbed on to the roof of his Citroen car in Argentina yesterday at the end of one of the toughest rallies of his career, Meeke said:
“This one’s for Colin.”
Meeke, who was also one of the earliest names to confirm their participation at the McRae Rally Challenge event (16/17 May) sponsored by Beatson’s Building Supplies commented:
“I am really excited about coming to Scotland for the McRae Rally Challenge at Knockhill, I have many happy memories of my time in Scotland, where I was given such a warm welcome by the McRae family and indeed the wider rallying fraternity.
“Colin’s support, advice and encouragement played a huge part in the development of my early rallying career and gave me the opportunity to compete at the highest level. It will be great to be able to relax amongst friends in the build up to the WRC round in Portugal the following weekend.”
Make sure you book your tickets for the McRae Rally Challenge and see’s the UK’s lastest WRC rally winner compete first-hand, right here in Scotland.