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Kris Meeke is 'not unhappy' as Citroen tell him to take a break

 

By Sammy Hamill

Citroen have pulled Kris Meeke out of the firing line and he will miss Rally Poland, the next round of the World championship at the end of the month.

Despite winning in Mexico in March, the Dungannon driver has been involved in a series of accidents, the latest on the first leg of Rally Italia in Sardinia last week, and Citroen say they want to give him a chance to "re-charge his batteries" before returning to the team in Finland in August.

His place alongside Craig Breen and Stephane Lefebvre will be taken by Andreas Mikkelsen, who made his debut with the team in Sardinia, finishing eighth. The Norwegian won in Poland last year when he was driving for Volkswagen.

"After a series of disappointing results, we have asked Kris to take a step back for this next rally," said Citroen team boss Yves Matton.

"Kris accepted that this would be in the best interests of the team and we'd like to thank him for his understanding.

"This break will give him the chance to recharge his batteries and release some of the pressure before preparing for Finland. He won there last year after producing a perfect performance, so we hope he'll come back stronger."

It has been an horrendous season so far for the Ulsterman, and although he has led almost every round of the series to date, including Sardinia, he has only finished in Mexico - and even then his Citroen famously flew into a car park on the final stage.

The unpredictability of the new C3 has shattered his confidence, and I'm told he is "not unhappy" with the decision to rest him in Poland. He is back at his base in Andorra and clearing his head by cycling in the mountains.

Inevitably questions are being asked about why Meeke has not slowed down and driven within the limits of a difficult car, but he has repeatedly said that is not his role. As lead driver he has been told to go out and try to win rallies - something no one else has been remotely capable of doing in the wayward C3.

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