Gronholm to return, Loeb to retire?
- 18th September 2008, 4:16pm
It's that time of year again when speculation and rumours run rife about who will drive for whom next year. Former double World Rally Champion Marcus Gronholm is said to be considering a return to the WRC after a couple of leading teams have apparently had discussions with him.
According to Autosport UK, Gronholm is believed to have had discussions with Subaru and Citroen about a possible return, but both teams have denied it. Gronholm's only comment was that he might return in the future, but at the moment is undecided. A Subaru source told Autosport, "Anything is possible if people want it bad enough."
It is believed that Subaru will retain both Petter Solberg and Chris Atkinson next year, despite speculation that Solberg will leave at the end of the season. Ford BP Abu Dhabi World Rally Team boss, Malcolm Wilson, has indicated that he will retain Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala next year and there would not be room for Gronholm.
Gronholm, though, is not happy with the tactics being employed by the teams this year when it comes to road positioning for the following day.
He told Autosport, "I don't like those tactics. They're stupid. When you look at the results, it's stupid and driving like Sunday driving. These rules absolutely have to be changed for next year. The drivers are not fighting now, they're just playing. It's a question of who is the cleverest, not who is the fastest driver in the stages."
Meanwhile, young Norwegian star, Andreas Mikkelsen, recently tested the Citroen C4 in southern France. Videos have appeared on You Tube of the test session and no doubt Mikkelsen will be hoping he has impressed the powers that be in Paris. With rumours of a Sebastien Loeb retirement at the end of this season, there could be a spot available with the French team.
If Loeb does decide to hang up the driving gloves, there will be plenty of competition for his seat. Belgian Francois Duval has been impressive on his return to the WRC, but South African Conrad Rautenbach has also proved he has the talent to challenge for a podium position. With experience in his own privately-entered Citroen C4 this year, he may well be in the right place at the right time.
For now, though, it's all speculation, and we'll just have to wait a little longer to see who lines up with which team in 2009.
Watch Andreas Mikkelsen's Citroen C4 test
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