Kris Meeke finishes seventh in Rally of Poland

Kris Meeke and co-driver Paul Nagle
Kris Meeke and co-driver Paul Nagle have endured an eventful Rally Poland

Northern Ireland driver Kris Meeke overcame a series of early misfortunes to finish seventh in the Poland Rally.

Meeke was involved in a massive crash during the pre-event shakedown on Thursday and then lost ground on the leaders after a poor choice of tyres.

The Citroen driver was off the road and into a field, which saw him drop from fifth place down to eighth, but he moved up one position on Sunday.

World champion Sebastien Ogier took his fifth win of the season in the event.

The Frenchman won the seventh round of the championship by 11.9 seconds from Volkswagen team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen, with Estonian Ott Tanak third in his Ford.

New Zealander Hayden Paddon moved up to fourth in his Hyundai following the final stage after another Volkswagen driver, Jari-Matti Latvala, crashed on the final stage and hit a tree trying to achieve a podium finish.

Thierry Neuville was sixth, with Meeke moving up to seventh after Pole Robert Kubica suffered a rear puncture in the final stage.

Meeke's crash took place on his 36th birthday on Thursday and saw the Citroen mechanics work flat out on Thursday to get the Dungannon man and co-driver Paul Nagle to the start.

The Rally Argentina winner was 17th on the opening super-special stage but comfortably occupied a top-five spot throughout the first loop of five stages.

A decision to run soft compound tyres on the gravel roads proved costly however and they wore out too quickly on the 39km seventh stage, losing Meeke precious time.

Meeke remains seventh in the championship, level on 53 points with sixth-placed Elfyn Evans. Ogier is 78 points clear of Mikkelsen at the top of the standings.

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