Citroen star Kris Meeke has spoken out against the decision to drop Craig Breen in favour of Sebastien Loeb on three rounds of the WRC this season.
Loeb, who tested twice with Citroen last season, returns to drive the factory C3 WRC in Mexico, Corsica and Spain in 2018, while Irishman Breen will tackle the remaining 10 rallies.
While Meeke is delighted to see Loeb returning, he hoped Citroen might have run a third car for the nine-time world champion.
Meeke told Motorsport.com: “I am really pleased Sebastien [Loeb] is coming back. Dare I say it, he’s not exactly a current driver, having been away from the sport full time for five years, but he’s still a nine-time champion and there’s no better exponent of our sport.
"He’s a very, very high-calibre driver and it would have been fantastic to see him back full-time in the team.
“That said, one thing I don’t think is correct is taking Craig out of the car for those three rallies.
"OK, this isn’t my decision, but for me, Craig has done enough last year and he absolutely deserves the second seat and a full-time drive this year.
“I’ve been there enough in the years gone by to know how much a driver benefits from being in the car for the complete season and, I think, that’s what we should have done.
"It’s not really right that the guy who’s building the experience has to stand aside."
Breen stays positive
Breen wouldn’t be drawn on missing three rallies and insisted on focusing on the positives.
He said: “I’m delighted to stay with the team for another year. I had a lot of things to learn this first full year in the WRC, but I managed to be consistent.
"I’m going to do everything I can to get my first win at events like Rally Finland or Rally GB, where I have a bit of experience.”
Citroen team boss Yves Matton told Motorsport.com that he wanted to see an upswing in form from the team this season, and expects both drivers to push for results.
“We have seen good reliability from Craig last year, but now we want to see him challenging for the podium positions more often," he said.
"And then, maybe in the second half of the year, on rallies where he is more experienced, maybe he could be fighting for the win.”
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About this article
|Drivers||Sébastien Loeb , Kris Meeke , Craig Breen|
|Teams||Citroën World Rally Team|