After leaving Queen's University in Belfast with an honours degree in mechanical engineering, Kris Meeke spent his first three years working as a designer for a leading rally-preparation business. But it was the draw of active competition that saw him make his first move into becoming a professional rally driver after winning a competition for new rally drivers in 2000.
The prize was a fully supported drive in a national rally in Wales. The following year, while competing in the Peugeot 106 Super Cup, he took his first category win at the Swansea Bay Festival National Rally. The same year, he drove a 300 bhp Group A Subaru Impreza in the Galloway Hills Rally. It was his first time in a four-wheel drive car and he clinched his first outright rally win.