For the first time, Meeke took part in the world's most challenging racing event, the Dakar Rally, on January 3-15. He dropped into the lightweight vehicles (T3/T4) category using a Zephyr T3 buggy with Team PH Sport.
The Northern Irish racer, accompanied by Wouter Rosegaar, has made 13 appearances in the last 14 editions of the Dakar Rally, acting as his navigator.
However, Meeke's debut did not go as expected. After recording the fastest time during the Prologue, the vehicle driven by Meeke and Rosegaar experienced technical problems.
His spare tire caught fire in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. As a result, Meeke and Rosegaar's journey ends prematurely.
While waiting for help from the support truck, Meeke and Rosegaar also spent time drinking tea with some local farmers in the desert.
“You are trapped in the middle of the desert, literally in the middle of nowhere. Suddenly some local people showed up," Meeke said.
“I never knew you could get wood in the desert, but they knew where to poke the sand.
“They brought a pot of tea and then they started bringing all their animals to us. I have to say it (Saudi Arabia) is an amazing place, everyone is very friendly."
Despite the mechanical problems that hindered his pace, Meeke described appearing at the 2021 Dakar Rally as an extraordinary experience.
“The Dakar is one of the toughest challenges in motorsport and a bit far from what I'm used to at the World Rally Championships,” said Meeke.
"It was unimaginable. I tried to prepare myself, but nothing could and things were still a bit blurry."