XITE Energy Racing announced Monday that Kris Meeke will enter the world of rallycross, serving as a replacement driver for Jenson Button in the Nitro Rallycross season opener at Lydden Hill on 18/19 June, followed by dates in Sweden (30/31 July) and Saudi Arabia (10/11 December). The news comes due to scheduling conflicts that prevent Button from taking part.
Meeke competed in the World Rally Championship from 2002 to 2019, during which he won five times with ninety-four stage victories. He also won the Intercontinental Rally Challenge in 2009 and finished third in the Junior WRC in 2005.
His World Rally career came to a close after the 2019 season, though he continued rallying on a sporadic basis. In 2021, he added rally raid to his résumé when he entered the Dakar Rally, competing in the T3 class but struggled with mechanical issues; nevertheless, he described the experience as “simply incredible”. Meeke was placed on standby for Giniel de Villiers at the 2022 Rally after he tested positive for COVID-19, but de Villiers ultimately ran the race. Despite missing out on another Dakar run, the Briton continued his rally raid adventures by competing in the FIA Middle East Cup for Cross-Country Bajas and won the T3 category.
In addition to the Button/Meeke entry, XITE Energy Racing fields the #42 for owner Oliver Bennett, both in the new Group E class.
“I’m really excited to join the team,” said Meeke. “When Oli contacted me and was speaking about the car and the amount of power it’s putting out with this full electric machine, it definitely makes you intrigued. Being asked to join the XITE Energy Racing team with Oli is something nice to be part of. I’m really happy to be able to come and hopefully give some helpful input into their programme.”