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New faces for 2014 Citroen WRC

2013-12-10 09:31

NEW DRIVERS: Kris Meeke (left) and Mads Ostberg have been added to the Citroen WRC line-up for the 2014 season. Image: RedBull / Twitter

ALAN BALDWIN

LONDON, England - Briton Kris Meeke and Norwegian Mads Oestberg will be Citroen's main World Rally championship drivers in 2014.

Meeke (24) from Northern Ireland competed in two rounds of the championship in 2013; Oestberg won in Portugal in 2012 for the M-Sport Ford team.

Meeke said: "I know I'll have to be patient in the first half of the 2014 season and learn all about the rallies that I haven't done."

NEW BEGINNINGS

Abu Dhabi driver Khalid al Qassimi will drive in Sweden, Portugal, Italy and Spain while also competing in the Middle East rally championship.

The Citroen announcement ended Mikko Hirvonen's two years with the team, with a move to M-Sport expected.

Meeke came through the ranks of Citroen Racing’s promotional formulas before driving a C2 Super 1600 for the brand in the Junior WRC. He was the IRC champion in 2009 and his two 2013 appearances in WRC saw him put in some impressive performances at the wheel of the DS3 WRC.

2014 will see these occasional outings give way to a full programme as he becomes the first British driver to race a full season since Colin McRae’s 2003 swansong with Citroen.

MUCH TO LEARN

Meeke said: “It’s an incredible opportunity. I've always been close to Citroen 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've only competed in 10 World championship rallies in a WRC. I think I have some potential but I still need experience.”

Ostberg (26) has taken part in 65 WRC rallies and won the Norwegian championship four times while he drove for the Qatar M-Sport team. His first WRC victory was at the Rally of Portugal in 2012.

Ostberg said: “I'm very happy and proud to be joining Citroen Racing. We worked hard to get an official driver’s spot. After so many years watching Citroen win, it’s a dream come true.

“Competing is the most important thing and even though I don’t know the team or the car yet I recognise the worth of the guys and the DS3 WRC. I've always shown I could be quick. I know the standard in the World Rally championship is exceptionally high, but I want to be competitive!"
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