Citroen Racing have released a statement which confirms that the UK crew of Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle have been released from their contracts with immediate effect. This currently ends their participation as a Citroen crew in the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship.
The reason behind this move is “Due to an excessively high number of crashes, some of which were particularly heavy and could have had serious consequences with regard to the crew’s safety and that the risks involved were unjustified by the sporting stakes at play”
The decision takes effect from the 2018 Rally Sardinia with Citroen Racing due to be announcing the team’s line-up of crews for the remainder of the 2018 season.
The remaining entries of Craig Breen & Scott Martin and Mads Ostberg & Torstein Eriksen still stand for Sardinia.
Meeke and Nagle’s highest finishes this season so far was third place in Rally Mexico and fourth place in Rally Sweden.
Pierre Budar gave further insight on this decision.
“This wasn’t an easy decision to make because it effects a driver and a co-driver, but it is largely founded on safety issues which come under my preoccupations as Team Principal. We have consequently chosen to make this decision as a preventive measure.”
Meeke and Nagle were the full season entry in WRC for this season with Craig Breen & Scott Martin stepping down for two events to allow former WRC champions Sebastien Loeb & Daniel Elena to make a partial return to the series. Loeb is due to return for the final time this year for Rally Spain in October.
Just before the news was released by Citroen Racing, Kris Meeke released a post on his Facebook page, further explain the torrid time he had on Rally Portugal and how lucky he was to walk away from the accident.
“Now that a few days have passed since Rally of Portugal, I thought it would be a good to get back in touch with a bit of perspective on our accident – and to look ahead to the next event.”
“Of course, you’ll have seen the pictures of our C3 WRC after the crash last weekend and the damage didn’t look too pretty.”
“It was my mistake, I know, and we went just that little bit too wide and then into the trees. And any accident where a rally car has an impact with trees has the potential to be serious.”
“Portugal was that little bit more annoying because it was my fault, too. It’s good to have the support of our Citroen Racing team boss Pierre Budar, who has backed Paul and I all the way, and is settling in well in the role he started earlier this year.”