Kris Meeke's bid to get his Intercontinental Rally Challenge title defense back on track got off to the best possible start after he went fastest during shakedown for Rally Islas Canarias yesterday afternoon. The 30-year-old from Northern Ireland, driving a Peugeot UK 207 Super 2000, was one second quicker than factory Skoda driver Jan Kopecky.
Meeke set a time of 1m27.7sec over the 2.3-kilometer practice stage on the last of his five permitted runs, which were held in bright sunshine and rising ambient temperatures.
IRC title leader Juho Hanninen was third quickest, one tenth of a second slower than Kopecky. Portuguese Peugeot driver Bruno Magalhaes set an identical time to Hanninen, despite reporting that he still was not satisfied with the setup of his 207.
Spaniard Sergio Villa, who won Rally Islas Canarias last season in a Porsche 911, was fifth quickest in his Ford Fiesta S2000 with Briton Guy Wilks and Belgium's Thierry Neuville equal sixth in their Skoda and Peugeot, respectively.
Wilks was unable to take part in Monday's pre-event test due to delays retrieving a replacement engine, gearbox and suspension parts from a container ship at the port in Las Palmas, so used shakedown to fine-tune his car's settings.