14 reasons why it's not just about F1 in 2014
The F1 season has kicked off, but there's lots more motorsport happening this year to get excited about...
Posted: 16 Mar 2014
9. ...and TG's favourite rallyist kris meeke takes his WRC spot!
Three years ago, Kris Meeke finally got the break he so richly deserved - as a works driver for the Prodrive-run Mini WRC team. It lasted less than a year.
It's still not known exactly why Mini pulled the plug on its WRC programme, but it left one of the UK's brightest driving talents back in the wilderness. Well, apart from the odd appearance on a well-known BBC2 motoring programme. Now, while his future achievements will never, can never, reach as high as escorting James May around a rally stage in a Bentley Conti GT, we are very pleased to hear that Kris has a full-time seat in a Citroen DS3 WRC. To be exact, it's the seat vacated by one S. Loeb, Esq.
No pressure. Not that it would get to him. Kris is far too easy-going and good-natured for that. It's just one of the reasons the bloke from County Tyrone in Northern Ireland is such a hit with fans. And race teams, too. You see Kris is no prima donna: he grew up helping out with his Dad's successful rally business, has a degree in mechanical engineering and his first job after qualifying was as a computer-aided designer for the M-Sport Ford World Rally team. Meeke doesn't just know driving, he knows every inch of the cars themselves and is just happy to be involved in the sport he loves. After the Mini deal fell through, he picked himself back up by helping other teams with car development. He knew his onions and was much in demand.
How did he get into driving in the first place? That came when he entered a competition run by Peugeot UK. He won that, and his reward was an entry into a national rally. He won his class first time out. By four and a half minutes.
But that's the past; what we're excited about is the future. Meeke is great to watch: fast, committed and always pushing - a driver in the mould of Burns and McRae. This is a man who loves to drive fast in rally cars and happens to be very, very good at it. He alone is a reason for British rally fans to get excited, but since he's also joined in the WRC's ranks this year by 24-year-old Welshman Elfyn Evans in a works Ford Fiesta, we'd go so far as to say 2014 ought to be a vintage year.