Kris Meeke may be enticed to return to the World Rally Championship later this season behind the wheel of Škoda’s brand-new Fabia RS Rally2.
Meeke has been heavily involved in the testing and development of Škoda’s new machine, which was officially unveiled at Škoda Motorsport’s headquarters on Tuesday evening.
Although he has done some select stage rallies (in the outgoing Fabia Rally2 evo) over the last couple of years, the five-time WRC event winner hasn’t driven in the world championship since Rally Spain 2019 with Toyota.
Škoda Motorsport boss Michal Hrabánek told DirtFish last year that he wanted to see Meeke drive a Fabia in 2022. And it appears that Meeke is open to the same possibility.
Asked by DirtFish if he had anything in the pipeline to drive the new Fabia RS Rally2, Meeke said: “I don’t know, we’ve had a brief discussion but when eventually the car will do its first rally in the world championship I don’t know, we’ll see.
“Personally I haven’t done a European stage rally in three years, but I’ve been keeping my hand in. Like I say I’ve done 3 maybe 4000 kilometers testing and I still love driving, there’s always that bit of curiosity.
“You never lose that itch to go back competing so maybe, let’s see what happens.”
Any such experience would likely be in WRC2, where several of Meeke’s old WRC peers like Andreas Mikkelsen – who’s also been involved in the development of the new Fabia – and Hayden Paddon are competing.
“Yeah no question [it’s competitive], for sure Andreas has won at world championship level up against the best in the world,” Meeke said.
“We had Mads [Østberg] there for a while, you’ve all these young guys coming through so whenever you compete at world championship level, no matter what category you’re in – even if we went back in Rally4 it would be a challenge to take on some of these young guys.
“But let’s see. I may be enticed to come back. When you do all the testing you’re only ever looking at your own time compared to your own time and maybe sometime we need to go and compare a time to somebody else.
“But we’ll see, you never lose that itch.”
Škoda’s new Rally2 challenger hasn’t officially been homologated yet, but the relevant paperwork has already been sent to the FIA ahead of an anticipated seal of approval in August.
“The homologation inspection will be at the end of this month,” Hrabánek told DirtFish.
“Our goal is to obtain the official homologation for August 1. Our, let’s say, time schedule is we would like to produce our first customer cars until the end of August and I believe at the end of September the first cars could appear somewhere.”
Quizzed if that meant the Acropolis Rally, scheduled for September 8-11, might be where the Fabia RS Rally2 is debuted, Hrabánek responded: “I cannot exclude that, on the other hand I cannot confirm that.
“We will see. We know the situation with time is very, very dynamic.”