Belfast Telegraph

Volkswagen trio keen to impress in bid to get new team for 2017

By Sammy Hamill

They have reigned supreme for the past four years but it all comes to an end in Australia this weekend as Volkswagen quit the World Rally Championship.

After four World titles and 42 wins from 51 rallies, Sebastien Ogier and co bow out - no doubt in a blaze of glory. The shock decision of VW to walk away in the wake of the dieselgate scandal in the United States left not only the wider rally world stunned, it shocked the drivers too.

They didn't see it coming and now Ogier, Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen are left with one last WRC appearance before they must find new homes ahead of the December 10 deadline for entries for the Monte Carlo Rally in January.

Champion Ogier is the subject of the most intense speculation. Will he join Kris Meeke and Craig Breen at Citroen? Or is Ford his most likely destination?

Only he knows for sure but confirmation from M-Sport Ford boss Malcolm Wilson that the French master is to test the team's new Fiesta WRC on his return to Europe next week suggests he is at least actively considering a Ford move.

Meeke has said he would welcome Ogier back to Citroen but the team seem less certain. His exit five years ago, when he refused to play loyal team-mate to Sebastien Loeb, still rankles.

Latvala looks likely to switch to the new Toyota team, but Mikkelsen's future is less certain. The Norwegian could go to any of the top teams or stay at VW to work on their new R5 project.

Once the dust settles in Australia on Sunday, all will become clear. The rally world awaits.

Belfast Telegraph


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