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The pair will alternate in the French manufacturer’s second car for the early rounds of the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship as the team enters two C3s. But Citroën Racing team principal Yves Matton said that would increase to three cars ‘as soon as possible’.
It has not yet been decided on which events Breen and Lefebvre will compete. Team patron and Abu Dhabi Racing chairman Khalid Al Qassimi will also start some rounds in 2017.
Matton admitted he had several options in choosing who would partner Meeke, who signed a three-year deal at the end of 2015 and has conducted most of the development work in the 2017 car.
“In choosing two young crews to complete the line-up, I don't think we can be accused of having gone for the easy option,” he said. “But this original solution is very much aligned with Citroën's mindset.
“And having seen them compete this season for the Abu Dhabi Total WRT, we believe in the potential of Craig Breen and Stéphane Lefebvre. They have the natural talent, motivation and work ethic to win rallies.”
Both 26-year-old Breen and 24-year-old Lefebvre have been with the PSA Group, which comprises Citroën and Peugeot, for several years.
Breen was second in the European Rally Championship for Peugeot in 2015 after finishing third in the previous two seasons. He has driven a Citroën DS 3 in four WRC rounds this year, claiming a maiden podium with third place in Finland and finishing fifth in Corsica last weekend.
Lefebvre twice finished second in the French Volant Peugeot series before winning the FIA Junior World Rally Championship and the WRC 3 title in a Citroën DS 3 R3 in 2014. He is currently recovering from injury after a terrifying crash in Germany in August.
The announcement ends speculation that Thierry Neuville might return to Citroën, with whom he started his WRC career. Confirmation that the Belgian has signed a new contract with Hyundai Motorsport is expected before round 11 of the WRC in Spain next week.