Kris Meeke in line for WRC return with Citroen in Rally Finland
|By David Evans||Wednesday, March 20th 2013, 10:54 GMT|
Kris Meeke is in line for a sensational return to the World Rally Championship, driving a factory Citroen DS3 WRC on Rally Finland in the summer.
Meeke, a former works Mini driver in the WRC, is on Citroen team principal Yves Matton's shortlist for the Finland seat, replacing Khalid Al-Qassimi in the additional factory Citroen entered under the Abu Dhabi banner.
Al-Qassimi cannot compete due to a clash with one of his Middle East Rally Championship commitments.
Chris Atkinson drove the car in place of Al-Qassimi on Rally Mexico earlier this month and the battle for the ride in Jyvaskyla is between the Northern Irishman and the Australian.
Matton said: "I made a list with some different profile and Kris Meeke and Chris Atkinson are there with approximately the same profile.
"The main difference for Chris in Mexico is that he was there last year and he drove the DS3 in Finland last year - those were two important facts that made me chose for him to be in Mexico.
"But on the speed, contact with the team and a lot of other things they are similar. Both drivers are on the list for Finland."
Matton, who worked with Meeke when the latter came close to lifting the Junior WRC title for Citroen in 2004 and 2005, said a decision will be made after Rally Portugal in April.
"I have known Kris for a long time," he said, "and the reason he is on the list is because of his experience from four-wheel drive cars and the speed I know he has. And because he is working with us testing some cars."
Meeke tested the DS3 WRC in northern Italy late last year and has been working within the PSA Group for almost a decade - a period which includes his Intercontinental Rally Challenge title win for Peugeot in 2009.
"Yves knows I would go to the end of the earth to get into his car in Finland," Meeke said. "After I tested it a few months ago, I sent him a text telling him I'd sell my granny to get a rally in that car.
"I would absolutely relish the chance to get in that car in Finland.
"I know the DS3 is a simply awesome car and I'm desperate to get back on the inside of this sport."