After months of speculation and uncertainty, Kris Meeke will be staying with the Citroën Racing team for the next three years after signing a new contract with the French manufacturer.
Meeke joined the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team at the end of the 2013 season and this season recorded his first victory for the marque. Earlier this year the Northern Irishman’s future with the team was put in doubt with the announcement that they would be scaling back their official efforts for 2016 as they concentrate on the 2017 car. With no contract announced at the end of this season it was rumoured the Meeke might be heading to Toyota to join their upcoming FIA World Rally Championship programme.
“Various options were available to me to pursue my career, but I chose to stay with Citroën Racing to reap the rewards of the work done over the last two years or more,” commented Meeke. “It’s also a way of thanking the team for the faith they have shown in me. We now know each other very well and this understanding will be essential in developing the new car successfully. I’m very excited about everything that lies ahead in the next few months.”
While it is unsure what rallies Meeke will contest in 2016, the new contract puts him in a prime position in 2017 as the new WRC rules come in to effect.
“I began my career in motorsport as a design engineer so although I can’t wait to get into the car, I’ll be following every stage of the design and assembly of the first car with great interest. I’m also very excited about the new FIA regulations, which look set to deliver more powerful and more spectacular cars! Obviously, all of this work is geared towards me being able to fight for more wins and for the world title. Citroën Racing is team with a winning mentality, with fifteen world titles, eight of which were won in the WRC. I am extremely pleased to be part of this new chapter in the history of such a prestigious Brand.”
Yves Matton, Citroën Racing Team Principal was happy to secure the services of the Rally Argentina winner, “In terms of our new programme, above all else we wanted an experienced, top-level driver, with sound technical knowledge,” he said.
“Kris was undoubtedly the best choice and we are delighted that he has decided to stay with us. We have a lot of shared history, with two seasons in the JWRC in the 2000s and then the last couple of years with the DS 3 WRC. However, the most important part of his career is ahead of him, with three seasons to develop and achieve success in the successor to the Xsara, C4 and DS 3 WRC!
“In 2016, the test programme will be the priority for Kris from April, when initial testing of the new car is set to begin. He will nonetheless keep his hand in as regards racing by taking part in several rounds of the World Championship. Initial details of this private programme will be revealed shortly.”