Kris Meeke has confirmed he held talks with Hyundai over a possible World Rally Championship return in 2023, but says he’s unsure of how close he was to securing a deal.
The former Toyota driver was among a list of candidates to fill the roles vacated by the dropped Oliver Solberg and the departed Ott Tänak, but Esapekka Lappi and Craig Breen ultimately got the nod to partner Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo at Hyundai next season.
“I dunno,” Meeke said when asked by DirtFish how close he came to a deal with Hyundai. “I had conversations with them. I think obviously they’ve made a decision to go elsewhere so that’s fine.”
Meeke said that he was never interested in a full-time return, and has subsequently refused to rule out the possibility of select outings next year, either with Hyundai or somewhere else.
“I made it pretty clear to them I would be really happy to drive, [I] would love to do a few events but certainly not a full season,” he said.
“There’s not much opportunity in Rally1. Hyundai – with Ott leaving and Oliver out – created an opportunity, but there’s guys there that are match fit all the time. I haven’t done a rally in three years, which is probably a factor in it.”
Meeke hasn’t been completely absent from rallying though as he has held a testing and development role with Škoda, racking up several thousand of testing kilometers in the brand’s new Fabia RS Rally2 – a car he says he’d be interested to drive competitively.
“We’ll see what happens next year. I may do a few rallies, I don’t know,” Meeke said.
“I’m still continuing my work for Škoda, but let’s see what happens,” adding that his 2023 could consist of “maybe a mixture of both” rallying and rallycross. Meeke has contested four rounds of Nitro Rallycross this year with Xite Energy Racing.
“I’ve done 7000km with Škoda testing and I feel good in the car so I would love an opportunity, but it’s up to Hyundai to decide who they want.”