Kris Meeke will make his World Rally Championship comeback with Toyota Gazoo Racing in 2019 joining alongside the retained duo of Ott Tanak and Jari-Matti Latvala.

The Northern Irish driver was sacked by Citroen earlier this season following a series of crashes but will return to WRC from next year with the Japanese manufacturer.

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With Esapekka Lappi leaving Toyota for Citroen it effectively triggers a straight swap with Meeke teaming up with Tanak and Latvala.

Having turned down the opportunity to join the Toyota programme three years ago, instead opting for Citroen, Meeke is thrilled to secure a deal with the team and reveals his teenage memories of racing in a customer Toyota.

“It’s a huge pleasure and honour for me to become a Toyota driver. I’d like to thank Akio Toyoda, Tommi Mäkinen and the entire Toyota team for their faith in me,” Meeke said. “Three years ago, we first discussed the possibility of me joining the team, and I’m so happy that it’s finally happened now.

“The performance of the Yaris WRC speaks for itself, but the team spirit here is incredible at every level, also with the Japanese culture of honour and respect. I can’t wait to get started. I’ve got no particular objectives other than to enjoy my driving again and help Toyota to win a championship.

“The very first championship that I won was actually when I was aged 16 and co-driving for my brother on our local road rally championship. We clinched that title in a Toyota Corolla, so for very many reasons, it feels incredibly good to be here. I can’t think of a better place to be.”

Toyota chairman Akio Toyoda is confident Meeke can become a valuable team asset to help develop its Yaris WRC challenger ahead of next season with the five-time WRC winner already starting his testing programme for 2019.

“To Kris Meeke, who will join our team from next season: I have great hopes that with your vast experience you will help make the Yaris WRC even better,” Toyoda said. “When you first step into the Yaris WRC, please let us know what you think.

“Under the leadership of Team Principal Tommi Mäkinen, we will ensure the Yaris WRC can be driven with even greater peace of mind. I trust you will look forward to the start of next season with great excitement.”

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