Peugeot’s IRC Champions Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle secured maximum points towards their title defence last weekend when they cruised to victory in Brazil’s Rally Internacional de Curitiba, round two of this year’s Intercontinental Rally Challenge.
They brought their Peugeot 207 S2000 home ahead of the Skoda Fabias of Guy Wilks and Juho Hänninen, after two days hard competition on the ultra-quick forest stages. Meeke’s winning margin was 46.7 seconds, and the win – his second successive victory in Brazil – makes him the leading IRC rally winner of all time.
Afterwards, Meeke and Nagle began the post-event party by blasting their rally car around the Curitiba Autodrome circuit.
Both crew members paid tribute to one another, the 207 and the team, especially team principal Marc Van Dalen, who had promised a win:
“When Kris and Paul went off and out on the Monte Carlo Rally, I said immediately we were a team – we win together, we lose together. I vowed we would win in Brazil. We have!” The team strategy was to go flat out from the outset:
“We knew we had very tough opposition – three very quick Skodas, all with top drivers,” said Meeke. “We had the advantage that we had been here last year, and we knew just how fast these stages could be – they are some of the fastest in the world. So we pushed very hard on stage one, won the stage, and led the rally for the rest of the event.”
Co-driver Paul Nagle said Kris drove like a true champion: “Simply incredible. I had not seen Kris drive like this since we won our titles at Sanremo last year. He was in a completely different class to the rest, and the team was fantastic. We need to thank Kronos Racing and Peugeot UK for giving us such a great car like the Peugeot 207. It didn’t miss a beat all weekend.”
Local support was impressive too, with fans out on the stages cheering on the Peugeot UK team.
Kris now moves into third place in the Drivers’ Championship, but there’s little time to celebrate – the action moves south in ten days time to Argentina and the rally resort of Carlos Paz for Round three of the IRC; Rally Argentina.