Top Gear is delighted to be able to tell you that our favourite rallyist, Kris Meeke, has landed himself a peach of a gig for next year – as a works driver for the Citroen WRC team. He’s the first of Citroen’s 2014 driver line-up to be announced, and – to our minds at least – that makes him the lead driver. The position once occupied by one Seb Loeb. No pressure then, Kris.
Kris isn’t completely new to Citroen. He’s come up through their junior formula, was IRC champion in 2009 and had a couple of WRC outings for the team this year in Finland and Australia, but things didn’t go terribly well. He crashed. Both times. But he was fast, very fast and Citroen clearly believe that, given a full time contract, he has potential to do great things. Well, duh.
No-one who witnessed The Bentley Incident could possibly doubt that Kris lacks talent or commitment. Especially not James May, with whom he was investigating the off-road potential of the Bentley Continental GT. By hurling it around a Welsh Rally stage. Epic stuff. A video worth watching. And then re-watching.
It’s likely Citroen will only field a team of two cars in the WRC next year (the other will be driven by Mads Ostberg) as its attention is diverted by Seb Loeb. Yes, that one. He might be jaded by rallying (nine WRC titles would do that to anyone, surely?), so instead he’s turned his attention to the WTCC world touring car programme, where it’s expected Citroen will field three cars, Loeb, partnered by Yvan Muller, and one other yet-to-be-announced driver.
But WTCC? Or rather WTF? Citroen’s WRC victories might have failed to spawn any road going spin-offs (more’s the pity), but there’s no denying that the WRC has a higher profile (certainly around these parts) and is w-a-y more exciting. And Meeke’s presence finally gives British rally fans a proper top line driver to get behind. Roll on the 2014 WRC season, we say. It gets underway in Monte Carlo on the 14th January. Do yourself a favour and tune in.