Belfast Telegraph

Kris Meeke confirms WRC return after split with co-driver Nagle

Right gear: Kris Meeke
Right gear: Kris Meeke

Dungannon driver Kris Meeke will return to the WRC next season after securing a deal with Toyota's factory team.

As reported in the Belfast Telegraph last week, Meeke's move to Toyota has long been mooted but has now been confirmed.

The 39-year-old's World Rally Championship future had been in doubt since he was dropped by Citroen earlier this year, following "one crash too many" in the Portugal Rally.

He has now agreed terms to join Tommi Makinen's Gazoo Toyota team, replacing Citroen-bound Esapekka Lappi to partner Ott Tanak and Jari-Matti Latvala for 2019.

Yesterday, it was announced that Meeke would not be renewing his long-standing partnership with co-driver Paul Nagle. The pair won five WRC titles together but it is now rumoured that Seb Marshall or Dan Barritt with partner Meeke at Toyota.

"The performance of the Yaris WRC speaks for itself, but the team spirit here is incredible at every level, along with the Japanese culture of honour and respect,” he said.

"It's been a difficult few months for me but I wasn't that long away and I've got that hunger back.

"I knew deep down I wanted to come back to drive a rally car and to have my first experience of the Yaris on these stages, it just gives me so much pleasure to drive a car again.

"I have given my life to rally and rally has given me so much but certainly I didn't feel it was time to stop. I still think I can achieve a lot more in the sport and hopefully with this new exciting venture we can achieve good things together.

"The negotiations were very simple and there were maybe some options on the table, but I said if I wanted to come back, I wanted to come back in the proper way. For me there was no doubt where I wanted to be."

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