Sébastien Ogier was fastest in shakedown at 72nd LOTOS Rally Poland on Thursday morning but Kris Meeke’s participation in the event hangs in the balance after a huge roll.
Meeke, 36 today, got the session off to a decent start, posting the sixth fastest time through the 3.70km gravel stage, close to the rally base in Mikolajki. However, the Ulsterman’s morning came to an unhappy end when he rolled Citroën’s DS 3 heavily near the start of his fifth run.
“We’ll find out how the car is when we get it back, but it’s never pretty when it rolls six or seven times. The FIA will take a look, but if the roll cage is bent we’re going nowhere,” said Meeke.
“I was just 100 metres into the stage on a flat-left, fourth gear corner. I was on the line and the car launched into the air and rolled. I had been completely flat through that corner every time before. The ruts were getting deeper but it caught me by surprise and the car went over and landed on the bonnet,” he added.
Ogier posted quickest time in his Polo R on the last of three runs. He was 0.5sec faster than a trio of cars tied in second.
“It was a really fast road, maybe only five braking points in the whole stage,”said Ogier. “It was fairly representative of the rally and good to get an accurate feeling for the speed we’ll see over the next three days.”
Team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala, Andreas Mikkelsen and local hero Robert Kubica driving a Ford Fiesta RS, all recorded the same time on their fourth pass through the test to head Thierry Neuville’s Hyundai i20 by 0.4sec.
The rally started on Thursday with a Super Special Stage in Mikolajki and ends, 19 stages later, on Sunday afternoon with the live TV Baranowo Power Stage.