Currently reading: Meeke secures Toyota WRC deal for 2019
Northern Irish star secures full-time return in Yaris WRC
James Attwood, digital editor
2 mins read
17 October 2018

Northern Irish rally star Kris Meeke will join the Toyota squad full-time for the World Rally Championship next year.

The career of the 39-year-old from Dungannon has been uncertain since he was dropped by Citroën earlier this year, with the French squad releasing an extraordinary statement citing his “excessively high number of crashes".

But Meeke, a winner of five WRC events, has secured a top drive with Toyota, which currently leads the manufacturers’ championship. 

Meeke will drive a works Yaris WRC, alongside title contender Ott Tanak and Jari-Matti Latvala. Meeke is known as one of the fastest drivers in the WRC – which has led to a number of accidents - and is also highly regarded for his skills as a test and development driver.

“The performance of the Yaris WRC speaks for itself, but the team spirit here is incredible at every level, along with the Japanese culture of honour and respect,” said Meeke, who held talks with Toyota several years ago before signing for Citroën.

Meeke also noted that he claimed his first rally championship – as his brother’s co-driver on road rallies – in a Toyota Corolla.

Toyota chairman Akio Toyota issued a statement with a message to Meeke, saying: “I have great hopes that with your vast experience you will help make the Yaris WRC even better. Under the leadership of team principal Tommi Makinen, 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.”

Rising Finnish star Esapekka Lappi, who has driven for Toyota for the past two seasons, will switch to Citroën next season. He will join five-time World Rally champion Sebastien Ogier, who will switch from the Cumbrian-based M-Sport privateer Ford team.

Read more

Meeke dropped from Citroën World Rally team

Autocar on Meeke's Citroën axe: a shame, but no surprise

Behind the scenes of Toyota's WRC return


Find an Autocar review

Read our review

Car review
Toyota Yaris

The original Toyota Yaris was a landmark car, since then it has lost ground to more talented rivals. Can it regain its crown from the formidable and long in the tooth Ford Fiesta?

Join the debate


17 October 2018
He's 39, he's won five rounds. Is he really the best driver available to fill a seat?

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review