Azores - BFGoodrich - Finish
Kris Meeke and co-driver Paul Nagle (Peugeot) put in a perfect run on the second day of the 2009 Rallye Acores to claim their second consecutive Intercontinental Rally Challenge success.
The British pair made full use of the potential
of their soft-compound BFGoodrich GZG4 tyres to finish clear of Jan Kopecky/Petr Stary (Skoda) and Nicolas Vouilloz/Nicolas Klinger (Peugeot).
The Azores archipelago is reputed for packing the weather of all four seasons into a single day, and that's exactly what the final day of the 2009 IRC's second round threw at the survivors of the previous day's action.
The morning's competition was marked by the celebrated anti-cyclone which takes its name from the mid-Atlantic Portuguese islands and which produced simply appalling conditions.
Kris Meeke, who had emerged in front after SS2, was first on the road and, like the previous day, chose soft compound tyres with a maximum 'cut' with a view to clearing as much mud and standing water as possible.
This choice enabled the Ulsterman to storm through the rain, fog and puddles to collect three further fastest times which took him even further ahead with five stages remaining.
With better weather on its way and the final stage cancelled, Meeke was then able to cruise home to his second win of the year which takes him clear to the top of the provisional championship standings, two points ahead of reigning IRC champion Vouilloz.
In his wake, a thrilling scrap opposed Nicolas Vouilloz/Nicolas Klinger (Peugeot) and Jan Kopecky/Petr Stary (Skoda) for second place.
Czech driver Kopecky kicked off the day with a 10.4-second deficit to make up, but that gap was reduced to just 7.2s by the end of the opening test (SS11), before the Skoda driver succeeded in dislodging the Frenchman on the following stage.
Both had chosen the soft compound BFGoodrich GZG4 for the first loop and they reached the day's first service break separated by a mere 1.2s. Fastest time for Kopecky on SS14 and 16 then put him out of reach of Vouilloz who was forced to settle for the third step of the podium.
The two-wheel drive cartegory was dominated from start to finish by Denis Millet/Julien Vial and their BFGoodrich-equipped Peugeot 207 RC.
The next round takes place next month in Belgium, at the celebrated Rally Ypres.