Meeke, Ostberg land Citroen WRC drives
- 10th December 2013, 8:46am
Kris Meeke and Mads Ostberg have been named as Citroen’s lead drivers for the 2014 World Rally Championship, with former driver, Mikko Hirvonen, set to join Robert Kubica the M-Sport (Ford) squad.
Despite crashing a Citroen World Rally Car in his two works outings this year - in Finland and Australia - Meeke (pictured) has landed the plumb job in the French team after showing that he has the speed to run near the front of a WRC field.
After a disappointing season that had promised so much with Ford, Ostberg has switched to Citroen, with Malcolm Wilson’s team looking likely to run Hirvonen and former Formula 1 star, Robert Kubica.
“It’s an incredible opportunity,” Meeke said. “I’ve always been close to Citroën 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,” he says. “I think I’ve got some potential, but I still need to get some experience under my belt. The Citroën 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 is equally as excited.
“I am very happy and proud to be joining Citroën Racing,” explained the Norwegian. “We worked hard to get an official driver’s spot. After so many years watching Citroën win, it’s a dream come true to be part of this team.”
“Competing is the most important thing,” adds Mads. “And even though I don’t know the team or the car yet, I can recognise the worth of the guys and the Citroën DS3 WRC. Of course, I’m joining Citroën 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!”
Like last year, Khalid Al Qassimi will take part in a selection of World Championship rallies. The driver from Abu Dhabi will line up for the races in Sweden, Portugal, Italy and Spain and will concentrate on taking part in the entire Middle East rally Championship.
“Our team line-up for the 2014 season is in keeping with our ambitions,” concludes Yves Matton, Managing Director of Citroën Racing. “Kris Meeke and Mads Østberg 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.”
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