Ousted World Rally Championship star Kris Meeke has confirmed he will compete in the 2021 Dakar with PH Sport in the event’s SSV class.
Meeke, who was dropped from Toyota’s WRC line-up this year after just a single season with the team, has contested just one rally in 2020, the Legend Boucles a Bastogne, which he won alongside regular co-driver Seb Marshall.
Aside from testing with Škoda in August Meeke has taken a step back from motorsport as he plotted his future plans.
Those future plans are now clear, with his Dakar entry confirmed with a post on Meeke’s Instagram page. He will be co-driven by Wouter Rosegear who has competed in every Dakar since 2006.
It marks a return to PH Sport for Meeke, with whom he won Rally Portugal and Rally Finland in 2016 during the Citroën factory team’s hiatus as it developed the C3 WRC.
This isn’t the first time Meeke will take on a rally raid event either, as he finished 18th in class during the 2012 Baja 1000 while riding a Honda CRF450X bike.
Rally drivers entering the Dakar Rally is nothing new, and indeed Meeke joins a field featuring two World Rally Champions next year: Sébastien Loeb and Carlos Sainz. Meeke’s career mentor – Colin McRae – also entered the famous race after his WRC career was done.
But Meeke won’t be racing against Loeb or Sainz per se, as while they will battle in the top-level Car class, Meeke will be competing in the SSV class for lightweight buggy-type vehicles instead.
PH Sport’s Zéphyr buggy is based on the CanAm Maverick X3, which locked out the podium places at last year’s Dakar. Another former PH Sport WRC driver, Conrad Rautenbach, finished fourth on the Zéphyr’s Dakar debut last year.