Kris Meeke

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About

Kris's biography

05 November 2013

Kris Meeke has been involved in rallying all of his life – and he’s been a regular at the top of the stage times sheets for more than a decade.

The son of one of Ireland’s most famous rally preparation experts, Kris grew up surrounded by competition cars and was an early regular on events where his father Sydney was running Opels, Fords and Subarus for multiple Tarmac Champion Bertie Fisher.

Born in 1979 in County Tyrone in Northern Ireland, Kris is married to Danielle.

Kris has experience of dozens of top-line rallies, and has racked up thousands of miles testing rally cars for leading manufacturers. Here’s a detailed guide to his career so far.

2010

2010 Curtiba Rally - pic by Peugeot

A defence of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge title was the focus of 2010, but the 207 S2000 had to be driven to the limit to compete with more recent entries. Kris’s year was blighted by retirements – and even a victory in Brazil wasn’t enough to keep hold of the crown. He ended the season in third, behind Skoda drivers Juho Hanninen and Jan Kopecky.

There was some compensation, though. Serious talks had already begun between Meeke’s management and Prodrive, which was about to bring Mini back to top-flight rallying. A return to the World Rally Championship beckoned.

2009

2009 Monte Carlo Rally - pic by Peugeot

Peugeot UK granted Kris a golden opportunity for 2009, backing a Kronos-run Peugeot 207 S2000 in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge and nominating him to drive it. And he didn’t let them down.

After so many years of part-time programmes, the Northern Irishman relished the security of a guaranteed programme and some proper testing. The result? Victories in Brazil, the Azores, Ypres and San Remo (below) – and the last of those was enough to secure him the overall IRC title with one round remaining.

2009 Sanremo Rally - pic by Peugeot UK

Peugeot supported the programme to the hilt, even using Kris in a major TV advertising campaign in the UK. His profile was sky-high again – a fact recognised by the readers of weekly motorsport bible Autosport, who voted him ‘Rookie of the Year’ for his performance in the IRC. Given that previous winners of the gong included Sebastian Vettel, it wasn’t a bad endorsement.

2008

2008 Killarney Rally - pic by Roy Dempster

With no full-time seat for 2008, Kris diversified, driving everything from a Mk2 Escort to a Rage buggy as the season progressed.

His main rallying exploits came at the wheel of a Renault Clio Super 1600, in which he stunned the regulars of Irish rallying by beating many World Rally Cars to run in the top three of the Killarney Rally of the Lakes. Only a late puncture denied him a podium finish (he ended up in fifth). A return appearance on the Donegal International brought more top-10 times, and then Kris grabbed the chance to use a Clio on the World Rally Championship round in Germany. He led his class comfortably throughout against Sebastien Ogier- only for electrical failure to bring his event to an end only a few miles before the end of the final stage.

Other outings included action on the McRae Stages in Scotland in an Escort Mk2 (he led before an accident), an entry on the Lurgan Park Rally in a similar Ford, and a one-off appearance in rallycross at Croft, behind the wheel of an Rage RX150 buggy. He won on his debut.

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