Just hours before the entry deadline for Sol Rally Barbados 2009 last Friday, a deal was struck for Kris Meeke to return and defend the title.

The Ulsterman heads an oversubscribed entry list, which disproves predictions that the worldwide recession would adversely affect the Caribbean's biggest annual motor sport event.

Not only is the Barbados Rally Club's (BRC) maximum of 90 entries exceeded, but quantity is matched by unprecedented quality of both man and machine, the overseas entry a further endorsement of the attraction of the island's sports tourism product. The full provisional entry list will be published on Monday, May 11.

Confirmation of Meeke's participation lays to rest rumours that have circulated for weeks. Since winning last year in a Toyota Corolla World Rally Car, Meeke and co-driver Paul Nagle were signed by Peugeot UK/Kronos Racing to contest the Intercontinental Rally Challenge; after crashing out of the opening round, the Monte Carlo Rally, they won in Brazil in March, to lie joint second in the standings going into Rally Azores this weekend.

Meeke will drive a Subaru Impreza WRC S9, which raises the number of ex-factory WRC cars in the event to nine.