PHOTO: Kris Meeke thrills the crowd at Coates Hire Rally Australia in September (Citroen pic).
NORTHERN Irishman Kris Meeke will remain with Citroen Racing next year after an impressive performance in the Citroen DS3 WRC during this season’s FIA World Rally Championship.
Countryman Paul Nagle will continue in the co-driver’s seat as the pair continues to chase a maiden win in a WRC event.
Third in the Junior WRC with Citroën in 2005 and winner of the IRC in 2009, Kris Meeke competed in his first rallies with the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team in 2013. This season, the Briton played a major part in Citroën securing second place in the Manufacturers’ World Championship.
“When we chose Kris Meeke for this season, we took a bit of a gamble,” Yves Matton, Citroën Racing Team Principal said.
“But he has improved with pretty much every race and has now become a complete driver.
“The real turning point was at Rally Finland. He adopted the right approach.
“He has managed to acquire experience throughout the season. He has shown that he not only has real pace, but that he can be more patient sometimes as well.
“Kris is a competitive driver on all surfaces, capable of being quick on tarmac and on gravel. This versatility is a real asset for Citroën Racing.”
Matton said the name of the team’s second works driver for 2015 would be announced shortly, after various discussions had been finalised.
Having secured podium finishes on surfaces as different as Monte-Carlo, Argentina, Finland and France, Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle also led rounds in Germany and Australia. With an identical calendar scheduled for next season, the experience they have acquired this year will help them be even more competitive in 2015.
“It’s fantastic to have the opportunity to continue to work together,” Meeke commented.
“Since the end of last year, Citroën Racing has given me the chance to prove my worth. This first full season has been spent learning about the WRC. In the second half of the year, I was able to show part of my potential.
“There’s room for improvement, but I now have some decent foundations to build on next year, in order to keep progressing. With experience, everything becomes that bit easier.
“I know the team well and we understand each other. I feel like I’m part of the Citroën family.”