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Unread 12-16-2015, 10:15 PM #1
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WRC - 2016

Who knows what will come of this thread but might as well give it a try, starting with some great news for Kris Meeke fans.

CitroŽn signs Meeke on three-year deal (WRC.com)
Quote:
16 DEC 2015

Click the image to open in full size.

Northern Irishman Kris Meeke will stay at CitroŽn Racing until the end of 2018 under the terms of a new long-term deal announced today.

The confirmation ends months of uncertainty for the 36-year-old whose 2015 contract ended at November's final round in Wales.

CitroŽn Racing team principal Yves Matton confirmed that Meeke will play a lead role in the development of an all-new World Rally Car in 2016 and will contest a number of WRC rallies with a private team before the squad's return to top-level competition in 2017.

ďIn terms of our new programme, above all else we wanted an experienced, top-level driver, with sound technical knowledge. Kris was undoubtedly the best choice and we are delighted that he has decided to stay with us," said Matton.

ďWe have a lot of shared history, with two seasons in the JWRC in the 2000s and then the last couple of years with the DS 3 WRC. However, the most important part of his career is ahead of him, with three seasons to develop and achieve success in the successor to the Xsara, C4 and DS 3 WRC!

"In 2016, the test programme will be the priority for Kris from April, when initial testing of the new car is set to begin. He will nonetheless keep his hand in as regards racing by taking part in several rounds of the World Championship. Initial details of this private programme will be revealed shortly.Ē

Meeke has a long association with CitroŽn that stretches back to 2005, when he contested the Junior WRC in a C2 S1600. He joined the Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team at the end of 2013 and claimed his first WRC victory earlier this year in Argentina.

ďVarious options were available to me to pursue my career, but I chose to stay with CitroŽn Racing to reap the rewards of the work done over the last two years or more,Ē said Meeke. ďItís also a way of thanking the team for the faith they have shown in me. We now know each other very well and this understanding will be essential in developing the new car successfully.

"Iím very excited about everything that lies ahead in the next few months. I began my career in motorsport as a design engineer so although I canít wait to get into the car, Iíll be following every stage of the design and assembly of the first car with great interest.

"Iím also very excited about the new FIA regulations, which look set to deliver more powerful and more spectacular cars! Obviously, all of this work is geared towards me being able to fight for more wins and for the world title," he added.
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Unread 12-17-2015, 12:40 AM #2
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Very good news. I think Chris has the right stuff to get the job done.
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Unread 12-17-2015, 02:27 AM #3
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Well, the job he'll be doing next season is development. In case it isn't clear, Citroen dropped out to spend 2016 developing their new car for 2017.
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Unread 12-17-2015, 12:55 PM #4
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And they will be at the top.
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Unread 12-17-2015, 01:37 PM #5
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I did not know they dropped out. Hope they develop a rally car that can kick the VW Polo in the jewels. I don't hate VW I just would like to see a good fight up front.

I wonder if VW will cut back on their motorsport programs due to burning money in their diesel engines.

Citroen has cut back severely on their WTCC program. Seb Loeb is out of a ride just when he was coming on strong.
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Unread 12-17-2015, 06:17 PM #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve View Post
... Meeke will play a lead role in the development of an all-new World Rally Car in 2016 and will contest a number of WRC rallies with a private team before the squad's return ...
I missed this ^ bit. He'll be competing in some rallies, don't know which and can't figure out what "private team" means. Will he be driving a current spec Citroen fielded by a privateer or will he be in something else entirely? Looks like the idea is to get him some more road time / experience at specific events without interfering with the new car development or wasting the team's time/resources.

Meeke explains himself (and his new deal) (MaxRally.com)
Quote:
17th December 2015

After signing a three-year deal with Citroen, Kris Meeke lets us in on his thoughts about his future.

Youíve never really had job security in the WRC. So what does it mean to sign a long-term deal with such a strong manufacturer team?

ďIt does seem that all the way through my career so far, Iíve only ever had a short-term commitment. Sometimes it hasnít even been for a season, and Iíve been driving rally-by-rally. Thereís always been that bit of extra pressure to prove yourself, to get to the next rally.

ďFrom my perspective, I hope the scenario is different when you have a long-term commitment, because it shows the team believes in you and what you can do. And it removes some of the question marks; it should allow me to relax and really feel part of the team. I can try to make it my team, and I can build for the future, knowing the future is secure.

ďDonít get me wrong: thereís always pressure to perform. And it doesnít take away any of that. But it has to help, knowing that everyone believes in you for the future.Ē


How important was it for you to sign a deal that included some events in 2016?

ďIt was vital for me to stay behind the wheel and compete next year, at least on some rallies. When Citroen announced it was pulling out and not competing in 2016, it put me in a difficult position, but weíve managed to secure at least some rallies next year.

ďItís important for me because of the level of experience I have. I still have only two years behind me in a WRC car in the World Rally Championship, so Iím short on experience compared with a lot of other drivers. There are still a lot of events that I need to be doing if Iím to stay sharp.

ďBut, in all honesty, to do the full campaign in 2016 along with all of the testing that weíve got lined up in preparation for the new car in 2017 could be difficult. So for me it could be pretty much an ideal programme Ė some rallies, selected events to help experience and keep me sharp, but also the time to allow me to really get my teeth into developing the new car and try to make it my own.


Youíve been the only person really challenging the Volkswagen Polos on the timesheets. Would you like to see more teams doing this?

ďI think itís in everyoneís interest to see more manufacturers at the top of the timesheets. There will be another manufacturer coming in 2017 and weíll end up with maybe four of the top-five brands in the world competing at the top of the WRC. I donít think will have been as strong in quite a long time, actually.

ďWhen one team dominates, though, Iím sure itís fun and enjoyable for that one team, but in all honesty, for the good of the sport, itíll be a lot better if two, three or four teams can all produce cars capable of winning rallies and we see them fighting for wins on every event. I think thatís what the fans want, what the spectators out on stages want.

ďItíll help everybody because nobody wants to see someone completely dominating for four or five years. Itís just up to the other manufacturers to step up to the mark and really get their teeth into it and focus on it."


Citroen Racing was Sebastien Loebís team, and now youíre about to develop the first World Rally Car that he hasnít been involved in. Does that bring pressure, and have you spoken to Seb about it?

ďNo, I havenít spoken with him. For me, in all honesty, this is what Iíve always wanted: to be in a position where I can fight for my goal, which is to be the World Rally Champion. I believe, making this decision and signing this new deal, that I can be in the right place at the right time to achieve that.

ďI feel Iím ready, I feel Iíve enough experience to really take on the development of a new World Rally Car with Citroen, and hopefully, by 2017, Iíll have the right amount of experience to really fight for rally wins and be a consistent finisher in the top positions.

ďOkay, I donít feel any extra pressure taking over from Seb; he will go down as one of the worldís best ever drivers, in any form of motorsport, let alone rallying, so heís always going to be thought of in that way. Itís really up to me to just get on and do my job as best as possible. I believe I can do it, and maybe make my own little bit of history.Ē



copy courtesy of krismeeke.com
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Unread 12-17-2015, 06:19 PM #7
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Just a guess, but I think he'd be in a current spec DS3. Glad he will keep his feet in water & campaign a bit.
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Unread 12-18-2015, 03:02 PM #8
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We have an answer!

Citroen confirms Meeke and Lefebvre for Monte Carlo (motorsport.com)
Quote:
By: Jamie Klein


Citroen has confirmed that it will field two PH Sport-run DS3s in next month's Monte Carlo Rally for Kris Meeke and Stephane Lefebvre.

The news follows the announcement that Meeke will remain with Citroen on a new three-year contract, participating in selected events in 2016 before the French manufacturer returns as a works outfit in 2017 with a new car.

January's curtain-raising Monte Carlo Rally will be the first of these, where Meeke will be joined by rising French star Lefebvre in a pair of DS3s entered under the 'Abu Dhabi Total World Rally Team' banner.

ďBeing able to contest a certain number of rallies in 2016 was important when deciding about my future,Ē said Meeke.

"This programme will enable me to keep my hand in as regards racing and continue to learn about the WRC events.

"From that point of view, it seemed essential to compete at Monte-Carlo. It is such an unpredictable rally, where experience counts more than anywhere else.

"I canít wait to get back into the car for pre-event testing to prepare for this first race.Ē

While the exact make-up of Meeke's 2016 programme has still yet to be confirmed, it was also announced that the Ulsterman will be present at Rally Sweden alongside long-time Citroen driver Khalid Al-Qassimi and Peugeot ERC convert Craig Breen.

PH Sport said that "between one and three cars" will be entered in the rounds it decides to compete in, with Lefebvre, Al-Qassimi and Breen all in line for further outings.
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Unread 12-18-2015, 03:06 PM #9
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The 2016 calendar:

RoundRallyDate
1. Rallye Monte-Carlo 21 - 24 January
2. Rally Sweden 11 - 14 February
3. Guanajuato Rally Mťxico 3 - 6 March
4. Rally Argentina 21 - 24 April
5. Vodafone Rally de Portugal 19 - 22 May
6. Rally Italia Sardegna 9 - 12 June
7. LOTOS 73rd Rally Poland 30 June - 3 July
8. Neste Oil Rally Finland 28 - 31 July
9. ADAC Rallye Deutschland 18 - 21 August
10. Rally China Ė Beijing 8 - 11 September
11. Tour de Corse Rallye de France 29 September - 2 October
12. RallyRACC Catalunya-Costa Daurada 13 - 16 October
13. Wales Rally GB 27 - 30 October
14. Coates Hire Rally Australia 17 - 20 November

Round 10 is a bit of a surprise.
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Unread 12-30-2015, 06:30 PM #10
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Monte in just over 3 weeks. Here's the entry list.

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