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Citroen WRC driver Meeke fired for ‘excessively high number of crashes’

FIA World Rally Championship Portugal - Press Conference

PORTO, PORTUGAL - MAY 17: Kris Meeke of Great Britain during the press conference of the WRC Portugal on May 17, 2018 in Porto, Portugal. (Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images)

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PARIS (AP) -- Northern Ireland driver Kris Meeke and his co-driver have been dropped from Citroen’s World Rally Championship team because of “an excessively high number of crashes.”

Meeke’s latest crash in this year’s series came last weekend at Rally Portugal when his car rolled down a bank, crashing into trees. Meeke and his co-driver Paul Nagle were fortunate to escape serious injury.

A Citroen Racing statement Thursday said the crashes “could have had serious consequences with regard to the crew’s safety.”

The team said it would soon announce a new driver lineup for the remainder of the season.

“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,” Citroen Racing’s Pierre Budar said. “We have consequently chosen to make this decision as a preventive measure.”

Meeke was in sixth place in this year’s driver championship with 43 points. He has won five WRC events over the past three seasons, but his best finish this year has been a third placing in Mexico.