Rally Driver Takes High Speed Detour Through Parking Lot, Still Wins Rally

The pacenotes in rally racing have always seemed borderline incomprehensible, but Kris Meeke must have interpreted one of the directions from his co-driver Paul Nagle as “We’ve got a bit of time to spare, let’s see what’s in the parking lot up here.” While leading Rally Guanjuato in Mexico last weekend on the rally’s final stage, the Northern Irishman missed a turn near the end in his Citroën C3. Luckily, the outside of the corner featured a parking lot instead of a tree or a deep ditch, as is often the case in rallying. Meeke got himself turned around in the parking lot, returned to the road, and still managed to win the rally by 13 seconds.

That marks the first win for Citroën with the new-for-2017 FIA World Rally Championship car and the third different manufacturer to win this year. With new cars featuring the most horsepower since the Group B days and considerably more aerodynamics, these modern WRC cars are quicker than those Group B monsters and far more docile (though still plenty insane). The turbocharged four-cylinder engines lack a certain amount of presence, though, compared to say, the General Mayhem when Freiburger and Finnegan took the ’68 Dodge Charger to Dirtfish Rally School.

Rally_Parking_Lot

This being Roadkill, of course, we couldn’t help but notice some Roadkill-caliber cars in the spectator parking lot on this rally stage. I’m not sure what the mismatched-color hatchback is, maybe a Mk. 1 Golf. There’s also a sweet fourth-generation Pontiac Firebird sitting around. What else do you see of interest, besides the tent where you’d find Freiburger? 

Rally Guanajuato remains one of the craziest rallies on the WRC calendar for some reason. In 2014, Thierry Neuville ailed his overheating Hyundai with a giant bottle of Corona to salvage Hyundai’s first-ever WRC podium finish.

And in 2015, Ott Tänak crashed his Ford into a Mexican reservoir, where it quickly sank. Urged on by the Twitter hashtag #RaiseTheTiTänak, Ott’s Ford crew managed to pull it out of the drink, dry it out, and carry on in the rally’s final stages.

As for Meeke, he writes another weird chapter in the history books for WRC’s Mexico round: