WRC: Puncture spoils Kris Meeke's debut for Toyota at Rally Monte Carlo

Kris Meeke
Kris Meeke impressed on his WRC debut for Toyota

Northern Ireland's Kris Meeke is seventh overall after a puncture on the opening day of the Rally Monte Carlo.

On his debut with Toyota, the 39-year-old trails his team-mate and race leader Ott Tanak by 53.8 seconds.

The Estonian leads from defending champion Sebastien Ogier with Thierry Neuville in third place following the first two stages of the 16-stage race.

Welshman Elfyn Evans is sixth behind the Finnish pair of Esapekka Lappi and Jari-Matti Latvala.

Meeke was fastest in the preliminary warm-up on Thursday and the Dungannon driver continued his impressive start with Toyota when he finished in second place on the opening stage, just five seconds behind Tanak.

But a puncture on the closing stretch of the second stage cost him 45 seconds as he slipped down the standings.

Tanak was third fastest on the second stage but holds a 9.1-second lead over Ogier with the third Toyota pilot, Latvala, among the drivers who was able to take advantage of Meeke's misfortune as he climbed from eighth place to fifth.

Evans is the best-placed driver for the M-Sport Ford team with his new team-mate Pontus Tidemand back in 10th place while Finland's Teemu Suninen crashed out during the opening stage.

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