Citing “an excessively high number of crashes” that could have jeopardized its crew, Citroen has dropped Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle from its World Rally Championship line-up.
Meeke, who was pulled from the car for a spell last summer after a string of dismal results, was airlifted to a hospital as a precaution during the most recent WRC round in Portugal when his car slid wide down a bank and into the trees while holding seventh.
In a statement, Citroen said: “Due to an excessively high number of crashes, some of which were particularly heavy and could have had serious consequences with regard to the crew’s safety, and given that the risks involved were unjustified by the sporting stakes at play, Citroen Racing WRT has decided to terminate the participation of Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle in the 2018 WRC.
“The decision becomes effective from the 2018 Rally Italia Sardegna and we will shortly be announcing the team’s line-up of crews for the remainder of the 2018 season. The entries of C3 WRCs for Craig Breen / Scott Martin and Mads Ostberg /Torstein Eriksen still stand for Sardinia.
Team principal Pierre Budar said the decision was not an easy one.
“This wasn’t an easy decision to make because it affects a driver and a co-driver, but it is largely founded on safety issues which come under my preoccupations as team principal. We have consequently chosen to make this decision as a preventive measure.”