Britain's Kris Meeke will drive a Citroen DS3 WRC car on Rally Finland at the start of August, it has been announced.
Meeke will run under the Abu Dhabi Citroen Total World Rally Team banner, standing in for Khalid Al-Qassimi, who is unable to do the eighth round in the 2013 World Rally Championship due to 'professional commitments'.
Meeke, who won the Intercontinental Rally Challenge drivers' title in 2009, last competed in the WRC in 2011 with the MINI John Cooper Works WRC car.
Of late he hasn't competed on many events, although he has been helping sister company, Peugeot, with the development of its new R5-specification 208 T16. Indeed he is driving in it on the Geko Ypres Rally this weekend, running as one of the course cars.
“This is an incredible opportunity for us!” said Meeke, who will be co-driven by Chris Patterson. “Taking part in Rally Finland in a DS3 WRC is a dream that I didn't think would become reality. I'd like to thank Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi and Citroen Racing for the trust they have placed in us. We're going to benefit from the advice and expertise of a team that has won the world championship eight times. We therefore have every chance of securing a good result.”
“Unfortunately, I cannot take part in the Finnish round,” Al-Qassimi added. “Kris has real potential as a driver and has the maturity you need to enjoy a sensible and efficient race. I'd like to give him the chance to express himself fully at this unusual event. I hope he is very successful there.”
Citroen boss Yves Matton meanwhile is happy to see Meeke get a chance with the DS3 WRC - especially given the Northern Irishman's history with the company and given he raced for Citroen in the Junior World Rally Championship in 2005 and 2006 using the C2 S1600.
“On top on the fact that Kris Meeke will please the British fans driving the World Champion rally car, I am very satisfied to see that Citroen Racing, with the support of Abu Dhabi, is once again offering a seat in WRC to a driver having competed in its customers racing division,” Matton remarked.