Peugeot driver Kris Meeke admitting that losing a likely Rally Argentina podium after a spot-weld on the suspension failed on his Peugeot 207 was "a kick in the teeth"
Meeke was lying third overall on the third round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge when the suspension broke in the penultimate stage, leaving the front-right wheel of his 207 banging back against the wheel arch.
He drove the car back to the service park in Villa Carlos Paz, but he said contesting the superspecial would not have been possible.
"When we left service for the final loop, I thought I noticed something with the steering," Meeke told AUTOSPORT. "I couldn't put my finger on it and then I was busy warming the tyres up. I put it down to the [power steering] pump being a bit slow or the engine revs being a bit low.
"Then when we got into the stage, it the steering was tightening on the slow corners. In the penultimate stage, it got even worse and I just couldn't figure it out. There was a noise coming, I was thinking all sorts: 'Is the sumpguard coming off?' I just didn't know. And then, bang, the wheel came back into the arch."
The front-right tyre punctured soon after, forcing Meeke to stop and change it in the stage. He and co-driver Paul Nagle made it to the end of the stage, where they tried to make repairs.
"We couldn't fix it at all," said Meeke. "We drove it back to service, but it would have taken us about five minutes to do the superspecial, it just wasn't happening.
"In the end, it was a spot weld on the compression strut and, much as it pains be to say this when I'm paid to drive for the team, it had to be a manufacturing fault. Compression struts just don't break, they just don't. I know some guys who would take a rally car through its whole life without changing that part.
"That's rallying, it was a bit of a kick in the teeth at the end of a difficult weekend."
Meeke is now 14 points behind series leader and Rally Argentina winner Juho Hanninen.
The fifth Intercontinental Rally Challenge was the best yet, and it was Skoda UK driver Andreas Mikkelsen who emerged as champion from a tense five-way shootout at the season finale. Matt Beer reviews the season