Meeke shone on a handful of appearances for the MINI WRC Team in 2011, winning the Power Stage in Spain last October, but a lack of funds has ruled out more appearances in the series where he made his name with several impressive performances in the Junior world championship in 2005. He is now trying to negotiate his return.
“I’ve felt a bit like a politician this year: factory drives are limited so I’ve needed to work on my negotiation skills,” Meeke told Redbulletin.com. “We’ll continue to find a solution, I don’t want to get to this stage of my career and not be challenging for wins.”
Meeke, a former protégé of Colin McRae, has kept busy during his time away from competition by conducting development testing for various manufacturers, including MINI, while working hard on trying to land a return to the WRC in 2013. He also won a demonstration event in his native Northern Ireland during the summer.
“Competition is what makes me tick and taking part on the Lurgan Park Rally only heightened my ambitions to get back into full-time rallying next year,” said the 33-year-old. “Even though it was more of a showcase event, it was fantastic to get back behind the wheel of the MINI.”
Meeke says one of the biggest frustrations about not competing in the WRC this season is the fact he has not been able to compete on the same events as Sebastien Loeb, Citroen’s eight-time world champion.
“You can’t take anything away from Loeb; he is simply incredible,” said Meeke. “In years to come, people will look back and feel proud that they were involved in rallying at a time when the world’s best rally driver was around. I know I certainly will.”