Dungannon's Kris Meeke will return to the World Rally Championship next season with official confirmation today from Toyota that the 39-year-old will join Ott Tänak and Jari-Matti Latvala in factory Yaris World Rally Cars for 2019

Meeke replaces Esapekka Lappi, who will team up with Sébastien Ogier in a new-look Citroën Racing squad, leading to speculation that Waterford’s Craig Breen will be moving from Citroen to M-Sport Ford next year.

Breen has already stated that he will have a drive in the WRC next season.

Meeke's long time co-driver Paul Nagle from Killarney will not follow Meeke to Toyota after the pair agreed an amicable split.

Meeke has not driven in the WRC since May's Rally de Portugal after he retired from the event after a crash and was axed days later by Citroën who said he had "too many crashes".

Meeke tested a Yaris for the first time in Finland on Tuesday. 

"It's been a difficult few months for me but I wasn't that long away and I got that hunger back.

"I knew deep down I wanted to come back to drive a rally car and to have my first experience of the Yaris on these stages, it just gives me so much pleasure to drive a car again," he said.

"I have given my life to rally and rally has given me so much but certainly I didn't feel it was time to stop. I still think I can achieve a lot more in the sport and hopefully with this new exciting venture we can achieve good things together.

"The negotiations were very simple and there were maybe some options on the table, but I said if I wanted to come back, I wanted to come back in the proper way. For me there was no doubt where I wanted to be," he added.

Seb Marshall, currently sitting with Hyundai's Hayden Paddon, is tipped to replace Nagle as Meeke's navigator.