Toyota 2017 WRC options limited beyond Kris Meeke

Toyota team principal Tommi Makinen says his options for a lead World Rally Championship driver in 2017 are limited after Kris Meeke signed to stay at Citroen.

Toyota 2017 WRC options limited beyond Kris Meeke

The four-time world champion and fellow Finns Mikko Hirvonen and Juho Hanninen are likely to shoulder the burden of Yaris WRC testing next season.

Thierry Neuville and Mads Ostberg are the only drivers understood to be in a position to potentially sign up for Toyota's return to the WRC.

"It's true that there are not many drivers and he [Neuville] might be the only one of the leading drivers without the contract," said Makinen.

"We have to look carefully now."

Makinen admitted one route open to his team is to place the emphasis on young drivers.

He already has Daiki Arai, 21-year-old son of double Production WRC champion Toshi Arai, and six-time Japanese rally champion Norihiko Katsuta's 22-year-old son Takamoto on the project's books.

"What we need to do now is look at the overall picture for the drivers and decide what is the target for us - what is the percentage of young drivers we need and what for experienced drivers," said Makinen.

"We need some experience, but at the same time it might be better for us to concentrate on the future."

Makinen added he understood Meeke's decision.

"Of course we would very, very much like to have seen Kris as part of our team," he said.

"I understand his decision and his point of view. It's very clear that our own product is not ready yet - we start a test programme in March.

"Citroen could offer a programme for 2016 and keep the development for the 2017 car.

"I totally understand that decision as a driver myself, but this is our situation and we cannot do anything about that."


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