Citroen announces Kris Meeke's new WRC deal through to 2018

Kris Meeke will lead Citroen's World Rally Championship programme for the next three years

Citroen announces Kris Meeke's new WRC deal through to 2018

The Northern Irishman, who won his first WRC rally in Argentina during the 2015 season, has penned a new deal with the manufacturer, as revealed by Motorsport News and Autosport on Wednesday morning.

With Citroen not running a factory WRC team in 2016, Meeke will spend the bulk of the year developing Citroen's car for the new technical regulations being introduced the following year.

Meeke, who was being courted by Toyota for its new WRC programme, will also contest "several rallies" in a Citroen expected to be privately entered by PH Sport before returning to full-time competition in 2017.

"Various options were available to me to pursue my career, but I chose to stay with Citroen Racing to reap the rewards of the work done over the last two years or more," Meeke said.

"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.

"Obviously, all of this work is geared towards me being able to fight for more wins and for the world title.

"I am extremely pleased to be part of this new chapter in the history of such a prestigious brand."

Autosport understands Stephane Lefebvre will join Meeke in the 2016 events he contests, with Citroen to finalise that plan a later date.

The closing date for entries for next month's season opener in Monte Carlo was a factor in locking in Meeke's new deal.

"In terms of our new programme, above all else we wanted an experienced, top-level driver, with sound technical knowledge," Citroen team boss Yves Matton said.

"Kris was undoubtedly the best choice and we are delighted that he has decided to stay with us.

"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."

For more on why Meeke picked Citroen over Toyota, see this week's special Christmas double issue of Motorsport News, also including:
- The 60 defining moments of 2015
- F1 season review
- Interview with BTCC champion Gordon Shedden
- Tom Ingram's crazy Christmas track test
And much, much more, out today.

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Citroen poised to announce new WRC deal for Kris Meeke

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