With royalty and a Prime Minister looking on, Kris Meeke commenced his challenge in Rally Sweden on Wednesday night, round two of the FIA World Rally Championship.
The opening action was fought out in a snow-covered stadium in the Spectator Stage which featured two cars battling it out. Meeke, having his first taste of a pure snow rally, was cautious and seemed relieved to finish the stage in tenth place overall.
“It was slippery out there, for me this event is going to be a learning curve,” said the Dungannon ace.
The fastest driver was Andreas Mikkelsen with his team-mate and reigning World Rally Champion Sebastien Ogier second.
Third place went to Ott Tanak from Estonia and Meeke’s Citroen teammate Mads Ostberg finished eighth fastest. Young Irish driver Craig Breen, having his first taste of a World Rally Championship event, finished 23rd at the wheel of the family-owned Ford Fiesta.
The real action gets under way on Thursday with the finish on Saturday afternoon.
Meanwhile, the Circuit of Ireland’s ‘Lisburn Power Stage’ will make a welcome return visit to the City this Easter. Part of the European Rally Championship for 2014, the rally has announced a re-run of the thrilling stage at Lisburn’s Civic Centre on Saturda, April 19.
First included in the Circuit’s route in 2011 and repeated in 2012, the popular Lisburn stage attracted huge crowds and support.
Entries will be opening soon and already there has been substantial interest from a number of competitors in mainland Europe for the International Rally as well as national competitors at home.