Kris Meeke will return to the World Rally Championship in 2019, in hand with Toyota Gazoo Racing. The Irish driver will fill Esapekka Lappi’s seat, who has already set his eyes on Citröen, and will make up a dreaded trio with Ott Tänak and Jari-Matt Latvala. His renewal is expected to be announced soon.
Toyota has never concealed its interest on Kris Meeke. Tommi Mäkinen himself sang praises to the Citröen ex driver last month. Not in vain: According to British magazine Autosport, the signing is already closed and Jari-Matti Latvala’s renewal confirmation is the only thing missing.
“Meeke’s agreement is done. We know he’ll come to Finland. It’s a thrilling moment for Toyota: Having three drivers, so fast and capable of winning a rally in any round,” reported a source of the British magazine.
The fact of having won Rally Finland in 2016 (only British driver who has achieved victory at the mythical 1000 Lakes) has been a determining factor for a team which, in spite of carrying the Japanese brand’s name, is mostly Finn, even his head office is placed in Puupola.
For his part, Ott Tänak, the most outstanding driver of the squad that currently fights for the world title, together with Sébastien Ogier and Thierry Neuville, welcomes the Irish: “It’s not my decision, not my choice, but Kris is a fast driver, we all know that. In general, I think it would be a strong alignment.”
Another name that was heard among those to be taken to the Toyota Yaris WRC was Craig Breen, even though he aims to renew his contract with Citröen and join Sébastien Ogier and Esapekka Lappi in a 2019 season, which should lead the French to the top again.