Date of Birth:02 Jul 79
Car:MINI World Rally Car
WRC Debut:Great Britain 2002
2011: Eleventh in World Rally Championship with one Power Stage victory.
2010: Third in Intercontinental Rally Challenge with one win. Signs for MINI WRC Team
2009: Intercontinental Rally Challenge Champion with four victories. Wins Rally Barbados
2008: Wins Rally Barbados
2007: Wins International Rally of the Lakes and Ulster International Rally. Sets third fastest time on opening stage of Rally Ireland
2006: Seventh in Junior World Rally Championship with one win
2005: Third in Junior World Rally Championship with one win. Takes Subaru Impreza WRC to ninth overall on Rally GB
2003: British Super 1600 Rally Champion
2002: British Junior Rally Champion. Makes World Rally Championship debut in Great Britain
Kris Meeke never harboured ambitions of becoming a rallying superstar even though he was exposed to the sport from an early age through his father Sydney, a well-known car preparation expert.
Instead he was more interested in pursuing a career in mechanical engineering, in which he achieved an honours degree from Queens University in Belfast, which led to a job as a CAD designer at M-Sport.
Then things changed. Meeke entered - and won - a rookie rally driver competition with Peugeot UK, which led to a season in the make’s 106 Super Cup in 2001.
He scored his first outright victory before the year was out after scraping together the money to contest the Galloway Hills Rally in Scotland at the wheel of a Subaru Impreza World Rally Car.
By now, Colin and Jimmy McRae had spotted Meeke’s potential. Keen to support an up-and-coming talent they invited Meeke to take part in a driving assessment test. The impression he created was enough to convince McRae Motorsport to fund Meeke’s British Junior Rally Championship assault in 2002, which culminated in Meeke taking the title.
A seven-event Junior World Rally Championship campaign in an Opel Corsa followed in 2003 alongside a British Super 1600 title bid. Although his JWRC campaign was plagued by misfortune, he won the British Super 1600 crown.
The 2004 season was a combination of highs and lows. Meeke was the third JWRC finisher in Monte Carlo and Great Britain. He also won the S1600 section of the British championship counting-Rally of Wales and the Finnish championship Pirelli Rally in Tampere. But the remainder of his JWRC campaign was marred by a series of mechanical failures and accidents, which prompted a switch to a Kronos Racing-run Citroen C2 Super 1600 for the season-finale in Catalunya.
Although a puncture ultimately restricted him to sixth in the JWRC section, it was enough to ensure a season-long campaign with the Belgian team in 2005. After winning his class on the Monte Carlo Rally, he was third in Sardinia but could only manage sixth in Greece following a suspension failure on the opening day of the event. He was leading in Finland until a crash pegged him back. Second place to team-mate Dani Sordo on the next round in Germany gave him hope but he would have to settle for third in the final standings.
With Rally GB not counting as a round of the JWRC in 2005, Meeke took the opportunity to drive a Subaru Impreza World Rally Car on a WRC event for the first time. Despite only getting a 60-kilometre pre-event test, Meeke set several impressive stage times on his way to ninth overall.
Meeke began the 2006 JWRC season in a factory-supported Citroen C2, albeit without the formal backing of the McRae family following an end to the partnership. Meeke led in Spain and Corsica before finally taking a long overdue victory in Germany. He should have backed that up with a second win in Finland but a heavy landing broke his car’s radiator and he retired.
With no funds to continue on the world stage in 2007 Meeke negotiated occasional drives in the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship instead. Two outright wins led to an entry on Rally Ireland. He was beaten only by Sebastien Loeb and Marcus Gronholm on the opening superspecial but left the road and dropped out of a potential point-scoring finish in difficult conditions the next day.
Meeke managed selected outings in Super 1600 cars in 2008 before a chance meeting led to him landing a drive with Peugeot UK in the 2009 Intercontinental Rally Challenge. With wins in Brazil, Azores, Belgium and Italy, Meeke clinched the title with one round remaining.
Even though his title defence in 2010 proved to be unsuccessful, a long-term deal with MINI in the WRC was his from 2011.
Meeke made an instant impact by scoring a top-three stage time on the car’s first WRC event in Sardinia. He beat team-mate Dani Sordo to Power Stage glory in Spain but lost out on a maiden podium with a costly error on the final stage of the 2011 season in Great Britain following a spirited recovery after early delays caused by mechanical glitches. Budget restrictions means it is unclear how many rounds he will tackle in 2012.