Kris Meeke and Mads Ostberg will compete for Citroen in the 2014 World Rally Championship, it has been confirmed.
Meeke, who won the IRC title in 2009 with Peugeot and who competed with Citroen in the JWRC, made two appearances in a DS3 WRC this year and he now gets a full programme, as does Ostberg.
Meeke becomes the first British driver to race a full WRC season since Colin McRae and Richard Burns back in 2003 and while he concedes he needs experience, he is looking forward to the challenge: “It's an incredible opportunity,” said Meeke. “I've always been close to Citroen over the last few years. I'm really lucky to be able to work with a team that has so much experience and so many titles.”
“I have only competed in ten World Championship rallies in a WRC car,” he added. “I think I've got some potential, but I still need to get some experience under my belt. The Citroen DS3 WRC is a terrific car and I'm going to be able to use the team's knowledge to help me improve. I know that I'll have to be patient in the first half of the season and learn all about the rallies that I haven't done before.”
Ostberg, who competed with the Qatar M-Sport WRT this year and who has already done 65 WRC rallies, is pleased to have signed with Citroen.
“I am very happy and proud to be joining Citroen Racing,” stated Ostberg, who has won the Norwegian Championship four times and who has taken seven WRC podiums – including one win, in Portugal in 2012. “We worked hard to get an official driver's spot. After so many years watching Citroen win, it's a dream come true to be part of this team.”
“Competing is the most important thing and even though I don't know the team or the car yet, I can recognise the worth of the guys and the Citroen DS3 WRC. Of course, I'm joining Citroen Racing to get some good results and to try and win some rallies. I've always shown that I could be quick. I know that the standard in the World Rally Championship is exceptionally high, but I want to be competitive!” he added.
“Our team line-up for the 2014 season is in keeping with our ambitions,” concluded Citroen managing director, Yves Matton. “Kris Meeke and Mads Ostberg have followed very different career paths, but both of them are on the cusp of making it into the very top class of world rally drivers. After an initial phase of learning and getting to know each other, our goal will be to help them to improve and turn them into real contenders for victory.”
Meanwhile, Khalid Al Qassimi will take in a 'selection' of WRC events in 2014 for Citroen - just like this year. However, unlike this season, he will only do four events - namely in Sweden, Portugal, Italy and Spain - as he will concentrate on taking part in the entire Middle East Rally Championship.
Former Citroen number one driver, Mikko Hirvonen and Dani Sordo are both off to pastures new. Hirvonen is expected to switch back to M-Sport after two difficult years with the DS3 WRC, while Sordo
is said to be on his way to Hyundai, with confirmation expected tomorrow [Tuesday], when the manufacturer officially launches it 2014 WRC campaign.