Kris Meeke

KrisMeeke.com

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.

2018

Kris’s second year in the Citroen C3 WRC started in much more positive fashion, with a solid finish on the opening round in Monte Carlo, including fastest time on the event-closing PowerStage. There was more frustration in Sweden, where engine problems after time in a snowbank brought a premature end to the action, but Kris was back on the podium on the following round in Mexico, with third place.

He looked set to follow that up with a similar result in Corsica, and was embroiled in a scrap for second place with Thierry Neuville and Ott Tanak as the rally entered its second afternoon. But a misread pacenote from Paul – his first such mistake in 11 years beside Kris – meant that the crew tried to take a corner too quickly and they ended up off the road. They re-entered on the Sunday and claimed eighth overall, plus a couple of points from the PowerStage.

There was another missed opportunity to stand on the podium in Argentina, after a puncture cost Kris the chance to build on the second place that he held at the end of the opening day’s action. He went on to finish seventh.

Hopes were high for a stronger result in Portugal – a rally Kris won as recently as 2016 – but while he and the C3 WRC were on the pace from the start, tyre problems would ultimately ruin his chances by the end of the opening day. He ended the leg by completing the superspecial stages in Porto with just a bare wheel rim at one corner of his car, losing a minute in the process.

1980461 kls6rb55cm whr

Kris was trying to make up the resulting deficit on the Saturday when he ran a little wide in a long left-hand corner and slid into the trees. The C3 was extensively damaged and there was no hope of re-entering the rally on the third morning.

Immediately after the finish of the event, the Citroen Racing Team Principal Pierre Budar paid tribute to Kris’s speed and said, “Kris was very comfortable in his C3 WRC and that’s an important point for the rest of the season.” However, three days later the team elected to withdraw Kris’s entry from the following event in Sardinia, and to terminate his participation in the rest of the season.

Kris declined to make any public comment on the team’s decision. and he spent the second half of 2018 maintaining fitness and enjoying time with his family. He made his return to a rally car by driving a Fiesta WRC at the Rally Legends event in San Marino on 12 October.

2017

2017 started a new era for the World Rally Championship, with fresh regulations and more extreme machinery. Kris and the Citroen team began the season with high hopes, although this optimism was dampened by a couple of tough outings in Monte Carlo and Sweden.

The year – and Kris’s global profile – took a huge leap on the third round in Mexico, however, where the C3 WRC and its driver were finally able to show their potential. Kris grabbed the lead early on and held it right through to the finish – although he wasn’t able to celebrate victory until the final yards, after a dramatic final-stage off into a spectator car park. Footage from the incident went viral and Kris made a number of television appearances on mainstream media to explain the situation – although in truth, it was not an incident that he would be keen to repeat.

The summer proved tough for the whole Citroen Racing team, and Kris was forced to sit out the arrival of upgrades to the C3 WRC in Poland after the team elected to give him a break from competition. He returned in Finland, posting a top-10 finish, but then suffered a further low in Germany when he got caught out by a concrete wall barricade on the opening superspecial and broke the Citroen’s steering.

FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP 2017

Kris and Citroen bounced back in spectacular fashion on the next event, Catalunya, where the Northern Irishman scored the first asphalt victory of his WRC career. Kris was in control throughout the event, which actually mixes loose and sealed surfaces – and he had a sufficient advantage going into the final stage to reminisce about watching Colin McRae winning the same rally more than two decades earlier. His pace was so strong, in fact, that even in a position of consolidating his lead, he posted second fastest time on the PowerStage.

The year ended with more frustration, however, with seventh place on Rally GB and then confusion in Australia, when Kris damaged the C3’s suspension on a bridge. The Citroen team elected to retire the car because of concerns that it wouldn’t make it through the next test and get to service – but then the stage itself was cancelled anyway.

By the end of the year, Kris and Paul found themselves seventh in the championship standings – the top Citroen crew by some way, but still far off where they’d hoped to be in a first full season with the C3 WRC.

2016

Rally Finland 2016, pic by Citroen Racing

Kris entered 2016 with the security of a three-year deal with Citroen Racing – but a major challenge ahead of him as the French brand elected to skip a season and prepare for a full return under rallying’s new regulations in 2017.

As such, Kris tackled only a limited programme of events in a PH Sport-run DS 3 WRC – and spent the majority of 2016 racking up thousands of miles of testing in the all-new C3 WRC.

There was still plenty of evidence of how the security of a long-term deal had made Kris more relaxed behind the wheel, though. He was the only challenger to Sebastien Ogier in Monte Carlo before an exposed rock on a cut corner holed his DS3’s sump and wrecked its transmission.

There were no such dramas in Portugal, though, where Kris dominated the event and controlled his pace throughout to deliver his second victory at World Championship level.

Rally Finland 2016, pic by Citroen Racing

The part-time programme meant that Kris had to cope with swapping from the 2017 car’s pace and the DS3 – but he and the older car were still a potent combination, and there was no better example of this than in Finland. No British driver had ever won world rallying’s fastest event, but Kris and Paul Nagle set a blistering pace throughout the three days to score an incredible victory – with the fastest average speed in WRC history.

There were other flashes of brilliance, including some sensational times in Corsica and a top-five finish on Rally GB – but Kris’s focus had always been on his 2017 campaign and developing the C3 WRC into ‘his car’ – and a vehicle that could support a full crack at the driver’s title.

Page 1 of 7 Next