Kris Meeke

Kris signs long-term Citroen deal

Tuesday, 15th December 2015 -
Kris signs long-term Citroen deal

Kris has signed a long-term contract with Citroen Racing to lead the team’s development of its new-for-2017 World Rally Car, it has been revealed today.

The French manufacturer announced last month that it would cut back its programme in 2016 while preparing a fresh assault on the WRC from 2017 onwards. Now team boss Yves Matton (above, with Kris) has confirmed that it will entrust the main focus of that project to the Dungannon driver, who will again be joined by Paul Nagle as navigator.

Kris’s programme for 2016 will include a line-up of selected events in a DS 3 WRC, along with an extensive testing programme as Citroen prepares for new regulations that arrive in 2017. The deal will then allow Kris to compete throughout 2017 and 2018 in the car he has developed – a level of security and commitment that he has not enjoyed at any other stage of his career.

‘Various options were available to me to pursue my career, but I chose to stay with Citroën Racing to reap the rewards of the work done over the last two years or more,’ commented Kris. ‘It’s also a way of thanking the team for the faith they have shown in me. We now know each other very well and this understanding will be essential in developing the new car successfully.

‘I’m very excited about everything that lies ahead in the next few months. I began my career in motorsport as a design engineer so although I can’t wait to get into the car, I’ll be following every stage of the design and assembly of the first car with great interest. I’m also very excited about the new FIA regulations, which look set to deliver more powerful and more spectacular cars.

‘Obviously, all of this work is geared towards me being able to fight for more wins and for the world title. Citroën Racing is team with a winning mentality, with fifteen world titles, eight of which were won in the WRC. I am extremely pleased to be part of this new chapter in the history of such a prestigious brand.”

Matton said, ‘In terms of our new programme, above all else we wanted an experienced, top-level driver, with sound technical knowledge. Kris was undoubtedly the best choice and we are delighted that he has decided to stay with us. We have a lot of shared history, with two seasons in the JWRC in the 2000s and then the last couple of years with the DS 3 WRC.

‘However, the most important part of his career is ahead of him, with three seasons to develop and achieve success in the successor to the Xsara, C4 and DS 3 WRC. In 2016, the test programme will be the priority for Kris from April, when initial testing of the new car is set to begin. He will nonetheless keep his hand in as regards racing by taking part in several rounds of the World Championship. Initial details of this private programme will be revealed shortly.’

Citroen Racing has not confirmed which vehicle will be the basis for its new challenger; however, the company has stated that it will be a Citroen and not a DS.

You can read our exclusive Q&A with Kris on his new Citroen Racing deal here.