Photo: Twitter

Earlier on Saturday morning, during the first run of the Amarante stage of Rally Portugal, Kris Meeke collided with a tree and absolutely demolished his Citroën. During a fast left-hand turn, Meeke went off the road and wasn’t able to stop before he and his co-driver Paul Nagle were thrown into the forest.

Despite the fact that the C3 looks like it saw the business end of a tornado, both Meeke and Nagle were able to exit the car of their own accord. However, according to Motorsport.com, Meeke reported some back pain that saw the Irish driver airlifted away from the circuit, more as a precautionary measure than an emergency. He’s now being checked out in a hospital in Porto.

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It’s pretty bad news for Meeke, who had been putting in a good performance during Friday’s stages. He’d been eligible for victory until a puncture in the last stage set him back to seventh, but, at only a minute down with two full days left to run, there was a good chance he could fight his way back to the top. Unfortunately, he’s now entirely out of contention.

A season that started off looking promising is now looking to take a turn for the worst. While he did score a podium in Mexico, this retirement will be his second out of six races.

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There is yet to be a follow-up statement on Meeke’s condition, but since he was able to move on his own, it seems like the Irish driver should walk away just fine.