Only hours after the conclusion of Rally Italia, Citroën Racing have announced that Andreas Mikkelsen will lead the team into Rally Poland, with Kris Meeke forced to make way for the Norwegian.
Stéphane Lefebvre had originally been the driver forced to make space for Mikkelsen’s return to the WRC’s top category, but after a wayward start to the year as team leader, Meeke has been forced to make way for the Norwegian for the next round of the championship.
“After a series of disappointing results, we have asked Kris Meeke to take a step back for this next rally,” explained Yves Matton, Citroën team principal.
“Kris accepted that this would be in the best interests of the team and we’d like to thank him for his understanding. This break will give him the chance to recharge his batteries and release some of the pressure before preparing for Rally Finland.”
Mikkelsen could only manage 8th place on his Citroën debut, and the team is hoping that more seat time behind the wheel of the C3 will lead to a better result on the event which he won last year while still at Volkswagen.
“This change in line-up means we can keep working with Andreas,” Matton continued.
“This first experience was more like a test session than a proper competitive outing. A second rally will give him the chance to use the things he has already learned to get closer to the leading guys.”
The latest development is another negative in Meeke’s tumultuous career with the French marque. While he has four wins in his four years with the team, 2017 was supposed to represent a first title challenge for the Northern Irishman. Instead, a win in Mexico has been the sole positive amongst a plethora of incidents, culminating with his rally-ending roll in Italy this weekend.