Meeke makes history in Finland win

British driver Kris Meeke, centre, celebrates.
British driver Kris Meeke, centre, celebrates.
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Northern Ireland’s Kris Meeke became the first British winner of Rally Finland as the Citroen driver set a new average speed record for the event.

Meeke’s 29.1 seconds victory over Finland’s Jari-Matti Latvala ended the latter’s chances of a third consecutive success on home ground and established a new speed record.

Meeke’s average speed of 126.60kph bettered Latvala’s record set on the event a year ago by 1.2kph.

The 37-year-old Meeke led almost the whole of the four-day race over the gravel roads in Finland in his Citroen DS 3.

Meeke’s Abu Dhabi Total team-mate Craig Breen, from Ireland, had a maiden podium finish in third, claiming his first stage win yesterday morning to finish one minute 41.3 secs adrift of the winner.

Meeke has climbed to ninth in the World Rally Championship standings and lies 92 points behind leader Sebastien Ogier.

Reigning British Touring Car champion Gordon Shedden snatched a last lap victory in the final race at Snetterton.

The Team Dynamics driver was second for the majority of the race before passing the BMW of West Surrey Racing’s Rob Collard on the final lap.

Collard held on to claim second, with Handy Motorsport’s Rob Austin completing the podium after Mat Jackson retired early while pushing for the lead.

Motorbase Performance’s Jackson triumphed earlier in the day in an eventful second race of the afternoon which included a lengthy delay following a multi-car clash. The incident resulted in a full restart and Jackson then held off the challenge of Subaru’s Colin Turkington, while Matt Neal took third.

Turkington won the opening race of the day to claim his third victory of the year, ahead of Shedden and Jackson.

Yesterday’s results see Collard climb to the top of the standings, three points ahead of Sam Tordoff and six in front of third-placed Neal. Shedden is fourth, Turkington fifith and Jackson sixth. The next event takes place on August 13 and 14 at Knockhill.