World Rally Championship driver Kris Meeke said he “got caught out by a bump” less than a kilometer away from the end of the final stage of Rally Mexico. I’d say that’s an understatement. Meeke went flying off into a parking lot next to the stage road and unbelievably still won the rally.
GIF via Mattzel8
GIF via WRC+
Meeke’s Citroën C3 went straight through a shrubby tree line and clipped a car parked behind the trees on stage 19, the last stage of the rally. He then got a little lost in the parking lot itself, having to squeeze his way between spectators’ parked cars.
— Mattzel89 (@Mattzel89) March 12, 2017
Ultimately, he spotted a gap in the trees to get back on the main road. One of Meeke’s tires was punctured when he drove through the trees, which made for a miserable end to his rally, but he drove it to the finish line regardless.
Fortunately for Meeke, he had built up a sizable 37.8 second lead heading into the final stage of the rally, allowing him to walk away with the win anyway. After his brief detour, Meeke finished the final stage 13.8 seconds ahead of once-unstoppable man and four-time WRC champion Sébastien Ogier. Unbelievable.
His flabbergasted post-race interview proved that he was just as shocked as we were that he pulled it off:
When asked what went through his mind, Meeke kept it brief and to the point: “Trying to find my way out of the parked cars and trying to find a gap in the hedge. A lot of things went my way, so thank you.”
I’m honestly surprised he had any words after that at all. I’d have still been in shock.
Correction: While it was hard to tell from the WRC+ video, Meeke did, in fact, clip the silver car in the parking lot.
— Iván GP (@IvanOrdazGP) March 12, 2017
Fortunately, you know the works Citroën team has to have good insurance.
I initially said that he barely missed the car, so this has been edited above.