Meeke fears he may have to retire from Portugal

A leaking damper is making life difficult for the WRC returnee


Kris Meeke fears he may not make it through Friday afternoon on Rally of Portugal due to a leaking damper.

Meeke is contesting his first World Rally Championship rally since late 2019, competing in WRC2 in a Hyundai i20 N Rally2 as part of his program in the Portuguese championship.

The 43-year-old was ninth fastest on the first and final stages of the loop and sixth fastest on the second to lie eighth in WRC2, 38.7 seconds down on leader Adrien Fourmaux.

But it’s been a difficult morning for the WRC returnee.

“We’ve a damper leaking oil from the beginning, and we got a puncture on the last one,” Meeke told DirtFish.

“But anyway look I can do nothing, I tried, but we lose all our time on the uphill. On the downhill we’re equal if not good, but anyway it is what it is.”

Asked if he can do anything to cure his broken damper, given there is just a remote tire fitting zone and no midday service today, Meeke replied: “Yeah, nothing.

“On the second stage I started to feel the car moving a bit, it was just getting a bit worse so whether we finish the day or not I don’t know.

“We have no damper oil but if there’s a crack in it… I don’t know I haven’t seen where the problem is but if there’s a crack you can put as much oil in it as you want but it’s going to come out.”

Meeke’s fears unfortunately proved accurate as he retired from the rally on the first stage of the afternoon.

Words:Luke Barry