Kris Meeke

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Kris's biography

05 November 2013

Kris Meeke has been involved in rallying all of his life – and he’s been a regular at the top of the stage times sheets for more than a decade.

The son of one of Ireland’s most famous rally preparation experts, Kris grew up surrounded by competition cars and was an early regular on events where his father Sydney was running Opels, Fords and Subarus for multiple Tarmac Champion Bertie Fisher.

Born in 1979 in County Tyrone in Northern Ireland, Kris is married to Danielle.

Kris has experience of dozens of top-line rallies, and has racked up thousands of miles testing rally cars for leading manufacturers. Here’s a detailed guide to his career so far.

2016

Rally Finland 2016, pic by Citroen Racing

Kris entered 2016 with the security of a three-year deal with Citroen Racing – but a major challenge ahead of him as the French brand elected to skip a season and prepare for a full return under rallying’s new regulations in 2017.

As such, Kris tackled only a limited programme of events in a PH Sport-run DS 3 WRC – and spent the majority of 2016 racking up thousands of miles of testing in the all-new C3 WRC.

There was still plenty of evidence of how the security of a long-term deal had made Kris more relaxed behind the wheel, though. He was the only challenger to Sebastien Ogier in Monte Carlo before an exposed rock on a cut corner holed his DS3’s sump and wrecked its transmission.

There were no such dramas in Portugal, though, where Kris dominated the event and controlled his pace throughout to deliver his second victory at World Championship level.

Rally Finland 2016, pic by Citroen Racing

The part-time programme meant that Kris had to cope with swapping from the 2017 car’s pace and the DS3 – but he and the older car were still a potent combination, and there was no better example of this than in Finland. No British driver had ever won world rallying’s fastest event, but Kris and Paul Nagle set a blistering pace throughout the three days to score an incredible victory – with the fastest average speed in WRC history.

There were other flashes of brilliance, including some sensational times in Corsica and a top-five finish on Rally GB – but Kris’s focus had always been on his 2017 campaign and developing the C3 WRC into ‘his car’ – and a vehicle that could support a full crack at the driver’s title.

2015

Rally Argentina 2015, pic by Citroen Racing

Granted a further one-year deal by Citroen Racing, Kris went into 2015 hoping to at least secure his first WRC rally win. It came in Argentina, where a masterly display over some of the most challenging stages in the championship brought the first victory at WRC level for a British driver since Colin McRae won the Safari back in 2002.

But just as there were inspirational moments, there were also signs that the DS 3 was beginning to show its age – no more so than in Poland, where the car rolled at an innocuous-looking corner during the pre-event shakedown.

Kris ended the season strongly, however, with a top-five finish in Corsica and a podium in Australia before a fine second place on his home round of the series, Rally GB – a drive that he rated as even more impressive than his Argentina win.

Then he started the process of negotiating a deal for 2016 and beyond. Citroen Racing was the obvious option, but other manufacturers were swift to contact him too…

2014

Rallye de France 2014, pic by Citroen Racing

Kris started the 2014 season with a curious mix of targets. Having earned a full campaign with Citroen Racing in a DS3 WRC, he and co-driver Paul Nagle were obviously keen to show that they had enough pace to be a real contender. But at the same time, they badly needed to build up experience of the calendar, much of which was new to them.

This scenario was particularly prevalent during the first half of the season, where Kris faced many rallies for the first time altogether, and several others for the first time in a full-spec World Rally Car. Still, he started brilliantly, scoring a fine third overall on the notoriously fickle Rallye Monte Carlo after a mature, accomplished performance.

Things got tougher for a while thereafter, though. Kris was in line for a superb sixth overall on his first ever snow rally in a World Rally Car, Rally Sweden, but a last-day excursion into a snow bank dropped him back to tenth. Then in Mexico, another experience-gaining run looked set to net him at least a few WRC points – before he suffered terminal suspension damage in the very last stage.

Rally Finland 2014, pic by Citroen Racing

Portugal was hardest of all. Kris turned up needing to make new pacenotes but conditions during the recce were abysmal. By his own admission, he struggled for pace and then rolled out on only the seventh stage. Worse still, his Citroen’s roll cage was damaged in the accident, so he wasn’t even able to take advantage of ‘Super Rally’ rules and rejoin to gain further experience.

Kris needed to bounce back and he did so brilliantly, with a fine drive to another podium finish on the very next event, Rally Argentina. Further podiums would follow in Finland and France, while only a last-day accident in Germany robbed Kris of what would have been his first WRC rally victory.

He ended the season in seventh in the WRC drivers’ standings – and had shown enough maturity and speed to earn a second full season in the Citroen Racing team in 2015.

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