Event organisers have confirmed that current IRC points leader Kris Meeke has become the latest big name to sign up to appear at The Rally Show at Chatsworth next month.
Meeke will be in action at the wheel of the Peugeot GB Peugeot 207 S2000 that has carried him to the lead of the IRC – with a second win of the season last time out in the Azores carrying him to the top of the standings.
Meeke's appearance at Chatsworth in June will be the only time that British rally fans will get a chance to see him in action with the Kronos Peugeot before November, when he is due to enter the Rally Scotland.
The appearance of a state-of-the-art Peugeot 207 Super 2000 - which heads the 2009 Manufacturer's IRC table by 29 points from Mitsubishi - is of special interest, since this formula will replace the current World Rally Car from 2010, as part of the cost-cutting
initiatives taken by the FIA and the car manufacturers.
Meeke started his rally career as a engineer and CAD designer with
M-Sport, but he needed little encouragement to get involved with rallying since his father, Sidney, had for many years prepared rallycars in Northern Ireland, in particular for Bertie Fisher.
In 2000, Kris won a Peugeot competition to find new rally drivers and rapidly progressed through the Peugeot Cup. He gained the support and backing of Colin McRae, which helped him to win the British Junior Championship of 2002 in a Ford Puma. Drives in a range of S1600 cars in the Junior World Championship followed, also with help from McRae, but individual wins were not enough to capture a title. Experience in WRC cars during 2007 finally led to a drive for Peugeot GB for 2009.
The Rally Show at Chatsworth will see a further invasion of Irish champions, who are coming to contest the Nations Cup.
Currently their team is headed by Eugene Donnelly, four times Irish Tarmac Champion and winner of the recent Larsen Circuit of Ireland. He will be driving the Skoda Fabia WRC with which he won that event and he will be joined in the Irish team by his brother, Charlie Donnelly, a former Irish National Rally Champion who will drive a Toyota Corolla WRC. The third member of the Irish team will be announced shortly.
The confirmed list of cars and drivers appearing in the History of Rallying are now up on The Rally Show's website. They cover the 40 years from 1950 to 1990 and range from an L-Type Allard which did the first post-war RAC Rally in 1951, to the Peugeot 405 T16 in which Ari Vatanen won the Paris-Dakar Rally of 1990.
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