Chris Atkinson has declined to comment on speculation linking him to a return to the WRC in 2010 as part of a new top-level team backed by Monster energy drink and led by American rally star Ken Block.

According to a story in Britain's Autosport magazine, Block is just weeks away from finalising a deal to run the 'Monster Energy Drink World Rally Team' in association with Ford's rally partner M-Sport, for the next three WRC seasons.

Block, who drives for the Monster-backed Subaru USA rally team, has tackled a handful of WRC rallies in the Group N class, but has become a rallying hero in his homeland thanks mainly to the 'Gymkhana' series of internet stunt driving videos, featuring him at the wheel of a rally-spec Subaru Impreza.

And Block reportedly wants his friend, former Subaru driver Chris Atkinson, as his team mate.

M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson has admitted talks with Block's management team have been going on 'for some time'.  Atkinson, who last made a WRC appearance on this year's Rally Ireland, wouldn't confirm or deny the story.

His manager reportedly told "Our clear objective is to get Chris back in the WRC in a competitive car as soon as possible, and we're doing everything we can to make that happen. We're having ongoing discussions with a number of different parties for 2010 but, as you'd expect, we can't comment on any individual stories."

The three-year deal, which is likely to be agreed in the next month, would give the WRC the opportunity to break into the important North American market, due to Block's 'hero' status in his homeland.

WRC promoter Simon Long said: "Ken Block is an iconic figure in US motorsport and a major box office personality. It wouldn't get much better than this for the WRC going into North America."

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