CITROËN team lead driver Kris Meeke has been stood down for the next round of the FIA World Rally Championship in Poland and will be replaced by Andreas Mikkelsen.
Although Meeke won Rally Mexico in March, his other events this year were all marked by incidents, the latest this weekend at Rally Italia Sardegna, when he rolled while leading on Saturday.
Mikkelsen and co-driver Anders Jaeger finished eighth on their debut with the French team in Italy.
“After a series of disappointing results, we have asked Kris Meeke to take a step back for this next rally,” Citroën Racing Team Principal Yves Matton said after the finish of Rally Italy.
“Kris accepted that this would be in the best interests of the team and we’d like to thank him for his understanding. This break will give him the chance to recharge his batteries and release some of the pressure before preparing for Rally Finland.
“He won in Finland last year after producing a perfect performance, so we hope he’ll come back stronger.
“At the same time, this change in line-up means we can keep working with Andreas. This first experience was more like a test session than a proper competitive outing.
“A second rally will give him the chance to use the things he has already learned to get closer to the leading guys. Moreover, he is particularly fond of Rally Poland since he won the event last year.
“We also remain committed to supporting our young drivers with Craig Breen and Stéphane Lefebvre, who will both be competing at the next round.”
The team will spend four days testing in Poland. Mikkelsen, Breen and Lefebvre will take turns behind the wheel of the C3 WRC. Meanwhile, Meeke and co-driver Paul Nagle will take part in recce for Rally Poland.