Belfast Telegraph

Meeke impresses to earn second Citroen chance

By Sammy Hamill

Kris Meeke hasn't had to wait long for a second call from Citroen. He will return to their World championship team for Rally Australia next month.

In a surprise move Spaniard Dani Sordo has been dropped from the team to be replaced by the Ulsterman, who made his Citroen debut in Finland earlier this month.

Meeke was standing in for the Abu Dhabi Citroen squad's third driver, Khalid Al Qassimi, and after a hugely encouraging performance in which he climbed to fifth place, just behind team leader Mikko Hirvonen and over three minutes ahead of Sordo, he crashed just a handful of miles from the finish.

It was feared the former IRC champion from Dungannon, on the WRC sidelines since the demise of the BMW Mini team 18 months ago, might have blown his chances with the eight times World champions who are being widely expected to re-vamp their team for next season.

But Citroen, who have struggled this season in the absence of their record-breaking World champion Sebastien Loeb, were still impressed and have acted quickly, dropping the off-form Sordo and bringing back Meeke and his co-driver, fellow Ulsterman Chris Patterson.

Explaining the decision, Citroen Sport managing director Yves Matton said: "It is difficult to take decisions like this, but sometimes you have to change something to re-energise the team and get back to winning ways.

"Kris showed what he could do in Finland with an excellent performance and high motivation levels. So we instinctively turned to him to take over in Australia."

Sordo, the team's tarmac specialist, will still drive in next week's Rally Germany before Meeke takes over for the gravel of Australia on September 13/15.

Meeke, who is the main test driver for both Citroen and Peugeot, got the news while riding his enduro motorbike in the Donegal hills. He tweeted to his 14,000 followers: "Lucky I had a signal up here. Mondays can be good!"

"I'm incredibly happy Citroen have put their faith in me again. It is another fantastic opportunity and with everything up for grabs for next season it is up to me to make the most of it."

Belfast Telegraph

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