The competition is hotting up, ensuring that the San Remo and Scotland stages of the IRC series will be nail-biting stuff.
With Kris coming second in Asturias at the weekend and title rival Jan Kopecky first, Kris is now only one point ahead of Jan.
The weekend didn’t start too well for the Peugeot UK team as on SS4, due to running wide on a right hand corner they broke the spokes of the rim. They thought it was suspension damage at first as there was only a slight impact but when Kris stopped mid-stage (by which time Kopecky had already caught him up) they discovered it was a broken wheel and they changed it within a minute but unfortunately by then had dropped about three minutes. This put Kris into 10th place with the feeling amongst the team that any points from this rally were unlikely putting even more pressure for a podium win in San Remo and Scotland.
At the end of Day 1, Basso was in first with Havia (a local driver in a Skoda) in second and Kopecky in third. However, as luck would have it, Basso who was leading at the end of day 1 and at SS11 on the second day was battling with Kopecky for first place, came off on the third last stage of the day, putting Kopecky in the lead with Hevia behind him, Vouilloz and then Kris. Kris said that he couldn’t believe this and whilst not being superstitious on SS11 a black cat ran across the road infront of them (it survived!) and he just felt that they would be in with a bit of luck and indeed he was right!
Hevia took a puncture in SS14, moving Vouilloz up into 2nd place and Kris into 3rd but then Vouilloz took a puncture on the last stage, ending with the tyre almost off the rim. He then took a 4 minute penalty as he left final service after Kris which put Kris into 2nd place.
It was a nerve wracking weekend all in all. To move from 10th up to a podium finish was an amazing result and both Kris and Paul were absolutely shattered on Saturday night. Paul concluded it was one of the hardest drives they have had this year.
Peugeot have now won the Manufacturers title three times in a row with 109 points as nobody will be able to catch them up with Skoda in 2nd place with 72 points.
And now onto San Remo which could determine whether it will be Kopecky or Meeke winning the 2009 IRC series.
Vodcasts show brilliant footage of the weekend – http://www.peugeot.co.uk/about-peugeot/sport/rally/peugeot-irc-rally-videocast