Meeke thrust into action in Belgium with Italian team
Kris Meeke makes his return to competitive rallying this weekend for the first time since the horrendous crash in Portugal which ended his Citroen career some six months ago.
Signed by Toyota for the 2019 World Championship season, Meeke is No.1 in the entry list for the Condroz Rally in Belgium where he will drive an R5 Skoda Fabia entered by the Italian Metior team.
"This is a rally I've done before - and in an R5 car - so it's a good way for me to get back into action in preparation for the 2019 season with Toyota Gazoo Racing," said Meeke, who finished second in 2014 in a Citroën DS3 R5 behind the WRC Subaru of Kris Princen.
"I have to thank Michelin for its support in bringing the Condroz appearance together; this type of thing is only really worth doing if you do it properly, and that means having the right car and the right tyres on it."
With long-term co-driver Paul Nagle standing down and not joining Meeke at Toyota, experienced Belgian navigator Renaud Jamoul will take over for this event only.
"I'll be co-driven by Renaud Jamoul, who knows the Condroz event and has enjoyed success in a Skoda in France this year with Quentin Gilbert," said the Ulsterman.
"Condroz is always a tricky rally, not least because the weather in Belgium can't be taken for granted in November, but I'm really looking forward to it."
Despite winning Rally Spain last October, Meeke was sacked by Citroen after his crash in Rally Portugal, an accident the French team deemed "a crash too many".
He has remained on the sidelines ever since, but earlier this month it was announced he has joined the World Championship-leading Toyota team and will drive alongside Ott Tanak and Jari-Matti Latvala next season.
The Condroz Rally is part of the Belgian championship and runs over Saturday and Sunday.
The entry list includes Meeke's former Citroen team-mate Stephane Lefebvre in an R5 C3 and the 2014 winner Princen, this time in an R5 Skoda.