Meeke ties with Ogier in Rally Argentina 2015 shakedown

Kris Meeke has thrown down the gauntlet ahead of the Xion Rally Argentina 2015 after equalling the stage time set by defending champion and championship leader Sébastien Ogier in the Wednesday evening 4.59km shakedown.

It was close from the start of the shakedown as Meeke and Ogier set identical times on their first two runs through the Villa Garcia to Cabalango stage. Ogier would set a faster time on his third and final run in his Volkswagen Polo R before Meeke matched it once again on his fourth attempt in his Citroën DS3.

“I enjoyed the break but six weeks was very long so I’m happy to be back in the Polo,” said Ogier. “We had only one test day on gravel during the six weeks, so it was important to have shakedown to get back in the rhythm again.”

Meeke has had a challenging start to the year which has seen various mechanical issues and mistake hamper his progress, the Northern Irishman admits that the six-week break has done him good.

“The start of the season hasn’t been perfect. The speed has been OK but I haven’t been able to be consistent and made a few mistakes. It was nice to have time to clear the head and come back reset. Like Seb, I’ve had just one day on gravel between the two rallies so shakedown was good to get the feeling back,” he said.

Andreas Mikkelsen set an impressive time that was just 1.2 seconds behind the pair in his Polo R ahead of Meeke’s team-mate Mads Østberg. Jari-Matti Latvala and Thierry Neuville rounded out the top six times.

Hayden Paddon suffered in the shakedown when he slid off road and hit a fence on his third run, breaking a bolt in the Hyundai i20’s left steering arm. Paddon would be forced to make a repair on stage before returning to the service park.

Xion Rally Argentina 2015: Top Ten Shakedown Times

1Sébastien OgierVolkswagen Polo R2min 30.9sec
=Kris MeekeCitroën DS 32min 30.9sec
3Andreas MikkelsenVolkswagen Polo R2min 32.1sec
4Mads ØstbergCitroën DS 32min 32.2sec
5Jari-Matti LatvalaVolkswagen Polo R2min 32.6sec
6Thierry NeuvilleHyundai i202min 32.9sec
7Dani SordoHyundai i202min 34.4sec
8Ott TänakFord Fiesta RS2min 34.9sec
9Elfyn EvansFord Fiesta RS2min 35.3sec
10Hayden PaddonHyundai i202min 36.9sec