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Kronos boss praises Meeke for his efforts in Sardinian battle

Kronos team manager Marc Van Dalen said Kris Meeke has nothing to feel sorry for after he was unlucky to go off while fighting for victory in the Rally d'Italia-Sardegna. "It was a good fight, 100pc between all drivers. Unfortunately, Kris went off the road."

The Ulsterman started the final day in second place, 7.4 seconds behind Italian champion Paolo Andreucci, but turned that into a 5.9-second advantage by the end of the opening stage (SS 8). Eventual winner Juho Hanninen beat him on the next stage to take a 3.6-second lead over the Peugeot UK driver, but it was all for naught as Meeke understeered off the road and into his third retirement of the season.

His non-finish has allowed Skoda ace Hanninen tighten his grip on the 2010 IRC drivers' title. However, Van Dalen gave a clear indication that Meeke could be the one to watch at Ypres, saying: "The car has improved on gravel, while we have a much evolved car for Ypres."

pThe popular ITCC and Formula Libre classes headline the meeting as racing returns to Mondello Park after a five-week break. MEC hosts the 12-race programme on Sunday.

Entries for the new ITCC class, which is making its second appearance at the Co Kildare track, has grown to 25, with former supercar champion Johnny Whelan joining the ranks in an ex-BTCC Peugeot and Robbie Thornton in a Mitsubishi Evo. Over 20 entries are listed for the Formula Libre class, while the affordable Formula Vee class has attracted two full grids for its championship rounds. Racing gets under way at 11am, with the last race scheduled for 4.50pm.

pLaois Rallysport Club cancelled their mini-stages rally scheduled for next Sunday. The event received only 39 paid entries giving the club little option. It was to have been the first solo run by the midlands club after helping the Garda and Carlow clubs co-promote events in previous years.

pIn what will be a culture shock for him, Daniel Barry will drive a Group N Toyota Starlet on the Wervick 12-hours rally in Belgium this weekend. The Enniskerry driver will be joined by his regular co-driver Martin Brady. The pair will be in the Belgian-run Group N Starlet while their own Evo IX is prepared in Wexford for the prestigious Ypres rally the following weekend. "We wanted to get some miles under our belt before Ypres, and also get a feel of what Belgian tarmac is like as it is clearly a very specialised terrain," said Barry.

pWithout championship pressures to worry about, Craig Breen enjoyed his two-day outing at the Chatsworth Rally Show last weekend. As well as giving demonstration runs in his Fiesta S2000, the young Irish talent got to drive the Focus WRC '07 and 1974 Lancia Stratos owned by Steve Perez, an Evo IX and a 1975 Datsun 240Z Safari, which gave the young Kilkenny ace the most pleasure. Breen returns to normality next week when he lines up for the Donegal international next Friday.

pLast weekend proved hugely successful for Sean Mullaly. The Limerick co-driver won the Newry-based Mourne rally with Darren Gass on Saturday and claimed third overall with Kevin Barrett on the Circuit of Munster on Sunday.

pDubliner Derek Tohill beat European rallycross champion Knut Ove Borseth in a dramatic final to claim maximum points in the third round of the European rallycross championship at Lydden Hill. Tohill, who lies second to Borseth in the 2010 championship, was listed to contest the Hungarian round.

pCarrick-on-Suir MC will organise a historic rally, new to the calendar, on October 31. The event will be open to historic, post-historic and modified classes. Depending on his commitments, Craig Breen is hoping to participate on the rally.

pClass leaders in the Dunlop Hawthorn trophy are: Daniel Polley (Formula Vee) 97 points from three rounds; Ken Fildes (Formula Libre) 64 (2); Jackie Cochrane (Historic) 70 (2); Anton Savage (Formula Sheane) 69 (2); Andrew Karstel (Strykers) 70 (2); Alan Byrne (Global Lights) 80 (2); John Denning and Noel Greene (Fiat Abarth) 64 (2); Barry Travers (Punto) 140 (4).