Kris Meeke

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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.

2015

Rally Argentina 2015, pic by Citroen Racing

Granted a further one-year deal by Citroen Racing, Kris went into 2015 hoping to at least secure his first WRC rally win. It came in Argentina, where a masterly display over some of the most challenging stages in the championship brought the first victory at WRC level for a British driver since Colin McRae won the Safari back in 2002.

But just as there were inspirational moments, there were also signs that the DS 3 was beginning to show its age – no more so than in Poland, where the car rolled at an innocuous-looking corner during the pre-event shakedown.

Kris ended the season strongly, however, with a top-five finish in Corsica and a podium in Australia before a fine second place on his home round of the series, Rally GB – a drive that he rated as even more impressive than his Argentina win.

Then he started the process of negotiating a deal for 2016 and beyond. Citroen Racing was the obvious option, but other manufacturers were swift to contact him too…

2014

Rallye de France 2014, pic by Citroen Racing

Kris started the 2014 season with a curious mix of targets. Having earned a full campaign with Citroen Racing in a DS3 WRC, he and co-driver Paul Nagle were obviously keen to show that they had enough pace to be a real contender. But at the same time, they badly needed to build up experience of the calendar, much of which was new to them.

This scenario was particularly prevalent during the first half of the season, where Kris faced many rallies for the first time altogether, and several others for the first time in a full-spec World Rally Car. Still, he started brilliantly, scoring a fine third overall on the notoriously fickle Rallye Monte Carlo after a mature, accomplished performance.

Things got tougher for a while thereafter, though. Kris was in line for a superb sixth overall on his first ever snow rally in a World Rally Car, Rally Sweden, but a last-day excursion into a snow bank dropped him back to tenth. Then in Mexico, another experience-gaining run looked set to net him at least a few WRC points – before he suffered terminal suspension damage in the very last stage.

Rally Finland 2014, pic by Citroen Racing

Portugal was hardest of all. Kris turned up needing to make new pacenotes but conditions during the recce were abysmal. By his own admission, he struggled for pace and then rolled out on only the seventh stage. Worse still, his Citroen’s roll cage was damaged in the accident, so he wasn’t even able to take advantage of ‘Super Rally’ rules and rejoin to gain further experience.

Kris needed to bounce back and he did so brilliantly, with a fine drive to another podium finish on the very next event, Rally Argentina. Further podiums would follow in Finland and France, while only a last-day accident in Germany robbed Kris of what would have been his first WRC rally victory.

He ended the season in seventh in the WRC drivers’ standings – and had shown enough maturity and speed to earn a second full season in the Citroen Racing team in 2015.

2013

2013 Rally Australia - Citroen DS3 WRC

Kris started this season without a regular drive – but he was busy nevertheless as his renowned testing abilities were harnessed by both Citroen and Peugeot. He racked up miles in the DS3 WRC on gravel, and also played a key role in the development of rallying’s new category, R5, by testing vehicles created for the class. Kris gave the Peugeot 208 T16 its public debut, running as course car on the famous Ypres Rally in Belgium.

In late summer, Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi realised that business commitments would prevent him from participating in Rally Finland – and he decided to entrust Kris with his DS3 WRC. Taking full advantage of this opportunity in the Abu Dhabi Citroen Total World Rally Team, Kris set a number of top-three times as he stunned the WRC regulars to hold a top-five placing.

He suffered late heartbreak by crashing out less than a kilometre from the end of the penultimate stage, Ouninpohja – but with only a short prevent test, and brand new pacenotes for the WRC’s fastest, most challenging stages, he had proven that he has speed to warrant a full-time seat in the top flight. He was rewarded with another opportunity in the factory DS3 on Rally Australia (below).

2013 Rally Australia - pic by Citroen Racing/Andre Lavadinho

After a sensational performance in event qualifying – where Citroen’s star pipped eventual 2013 World Champion Sebastien Ogier to set the fastest time – Kris kept his DS3 in the frame for a podium placing before he slipped off the road on the second afternoon.

The result might have been frustrating, but again Kris had shown promising pace – enough speed, in fact, for Citroen to give him the chance to shine by signing him up for a full WRC campaign in 2014.

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