Kris Meeke has been confirmed to drive for the Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team in 2019 alongside Ott Tänak and Jari-Matti Latvala.
The Northern Irishman, who famously left Citroen earlier this season, will return to the WRC next year in a full-season campaign for the Japanese manufacturer.
Meeke has already been testing for his new team and said on his move: “It’s a huge pleasure and honour for me to become a Toyota driver. I’d like to thank Akio Toyoda, Tommi Mäkinen and the entire Toyota team for their faith in me. Three years ago, we first discussed the possibility of me joining the team, and I’m so happy that it’s finally happened now.”
“The performance of the Yaris WRC speaks for itself, but the team spirit here is incredible at every level, also with the Japanese culture of honour and respect. I can’t wait to get started. I’ve got no particular objectives other than to enjoy my driving again and help Toyota to win a championship.”
Team Principal Tommi Mäkinen added: “We are all very excited to have Kris joining us here at TOYOTA GAZOO Racing. We know that he is very fast, but he also brings a lot of experience. His technical understanding is at a really high level and I believe he can provide new knowledge and ideas to help us in our aim to keep making the Yaris WRC better.”
“I am also very pleased that Jari-Matti will continue to be part of our team. He has done some brilliant work for us and has recently been regularly on the podium again, which has been very important. Together with Ott, who has proven that he is absolutely one of the fastest drivers right now, I think we have a very strong line-up for next year, with three drivers who are all quick, experienced and can win rallies.”
Tänak has already won four times this year and is in the championship fight alongside Thierry Neuville and Sébastien Ogier, while Latvala’s 2018 season has picked up in recent rounds, with three podium finishes in the last four events including last time out on Dayinsure Wales Rally GB.