Kris Meeke expects 2017 WRC title shot on Citroen's return

Kris Meeke thinks his 2016 mix of rallying and testing with Citroen will make him a realistic World Rally Championship title contender in 2017/18

Kris Meeke expects 2017 WRC title shot on Citroen's return

Meeke has signed a three-year deal to develop then compete with Citroen's C3 WRC.

He will use a DS 3 WRC on the first two rounds of this year's championship and then up to six more of the remaining 12 events. In between, he will focus on development work with the new car.

The Northern Irishman believes that structure will make him better placed for the first year of the new rules era in 2017 than those who are contesting the full - controversially congested - '16 schedule will also working on new cars.

"Look at the schedule from August to November," Meeke told Autosport.

"You're not going to have time to draw breath if you're competing in the whole championship - and that's just working on the rallies. Trying to do any testing would be very, very difficult.

ANALYSIS: Will Citroen's hiatus pay off as it did in 2006?

"That's another reason why I'm even more happy with what we've got for next year.

"We have the ideal scenario in that we have the freedom to test and time to test and we have the rallies there to keep us sharp as well.

"I guess the proof will be in the pudding, but I'm pretty happy with it."

He sees no reason why he cannot mount his first title challenge when Citroen returns in earnest.

"There's no question - the world championship has to be the target," said Meeke.

"I have everything in place now. This is the chance I've been waiting for.

"When we come to the start of 2017, I have no doubt we're going to be ready for Volkswagen.

"Don't forget, there were a load of contributing factors to VW success.

"When their juggernaut arrived, Citroen was just moving its focus to WTCC and the rally car essentially free-wheeled for a couple of years.

"That combined with [Sebastien] Loeb retiring from rallying and me arriving with zero experience made it hard for us."

Meeke admitted the last two years had been a rollercoaster of emotions as he fought to establish himself at Citroen and in rallying's top flight.

"I always knew I could show the team what I could do," he said.

"Yes, I fell flat on my face a couple of times and I'll not deny I came close to losing the dream as well.

"It's taken me some time, but I've got what I always wanted."

shares
comments
Fast Failures: Subaru's WRC monster

Previous article

Fast Failures: Subaru's WRC monster

Next article

Sebastien Loeb wanted 2016 WRC return before Citroen split

Sebastien Loeb wanted 2016 WRC return before Citroen split
Load comments
How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain Plus

How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain

While all pre-event chat focused on the two World Rally Championship title fighters, their closest challenger charged into the spotlight on Rally Spain. Thierry Neuville's star turn and another strong drive from Elfyn Evans in his fight with Sebastien Ogier made for an intriguing event as the 2021 campaign nears its crunch point

WRC
20 h
The steely determination behind the WRC’s Solberg 2.0 Plus

The steely determination behind the WRC’s Solberg 2.0

Two decades after Petter Solberg emerged as a World Rally Championship winner, his son Oliver is ready to take the WRC by storm. Having secured a part-time WRC factory drive for Hyundai in 2022, he's raring to repay the marque's faith in him and follow in his 2003 champion father's footsteps

WRC
Oct 14, 2021
Analysing the key moves in WRC’s 2022 silly season Plus

Analysing the key moves in WRC’s 2022 silly season

The World Rally Championship will step into a new hybrid era in 2022, but the car changes haven't been the only excitement that has built within the paddock. WRC's 'silly season' kicked off in a big way and all the key driver moves for 2022 - of which there are many - look set to shake things up

WRC
Oct 13, 2021
How joining Finland’s exclusive club was Evans' true WRC coming-of-age Plus

How joining Finland’s exclusive club was Evans' true WRC coming-of-age

By his own admission, the fifth World Rally Championship victory of Elfyn Evans' career in Finland last weekend was the drive of his life. Winning five stages in a row and soaking up huge pressure from the Hyundais on the fastest gravel stages around, the Welshman put in a faultless showing that proved what he is truly made of

WRC
Oct 4, 2021
Does Neuville have a point with his Rally1 rant? Plus

Does Neuville have a point with his Rally1 rant?

OPINION: Thierry Neuville's diatribe against the upcoming Rally1-spec machines that will usher in the World Rally Championship's new hybrid era was remarkable in an era where drivers are usually reticent to air their views in public. But are the Belgian's concerns about speed, safety and cost entirely valid?

WRC
Sep 16, 2021
How the WRC's new flying Finn reached new heights in the Greek mountains Plus

How the WRC's new flying Finn reached new heights in the Greek mountains

After Kalle Rovanpera’s historic feat at Rally Estonia, the Finn scaled new heights at the Rally of the Gods with a commanding victory. And this time Toyota’s young star demonstrated why the future is bright with his devastating speed and consistency at the Acropolis Rally

WRC
Sep 13, 2021
The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally Plus

The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally

Five drivers have won first time out at the Rally Acropolis, transcending the tough dirt and gravel Greek roads to cement a place in rallying folklore. Here are three of the first-time winners' tales

WRC
Sep 9, 2021
Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble Plus

Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble

From being considered a likely contender to drive the next-generation M-Sport Ford Puma in 2022, Teemu Suninen's abrupt exit has created plenty of questions. The Finn's bid to become his country's next World Rally Championship winner won't be furthered by being sidelined, but there may be reason behind the decision

WRC
Sep 2, 2021