It’s Hyundai or M-Sport for Neuville
Thierry Neuville breaks off Citroen talks for 2014
The battle for Thierry Neuville’s signature for the 2014 WRC season is down to a straight fight between newcomers Hyundai and current team M-Sport after the Belgian driver ended negotiations with Citroen.
Neuville is expected to make his decision shortly after this weekend’s Rally de España and although rumours suggest he has already agreed a deal with the Korean manufacturer, M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson believes Neuville’s future is not settled.
Twenty-five-year-old Neuville left Citroen at the start of this year after being offered a full programme in a Ford Fiesta RS by Wilson’s Qatar-funded squad. A string of five consecutive podiums, including four second place finishes, has made him the hottest property in the end-of-season transfer market.
Citroen boss Yves Matton was keen on Neuville returning to the French squad but admitted talks had halted. “We were talking with Thierry but now we have stopped the negotiations. Thierry stopped them,” said Matton.
Neuville remains tight-lipped but Wilson said M-Sport was still talking to him.
“I think it’s quite clear it’s between us and Hyundai, but I can’t give an answer because I don’t know,” said Wilson. “It’s got to be 50-50 in view of what’s happened this season because he can see how competitive our car and the team are.
“But obviously I can also see the appeal to Thierry in view of the long term situation with a new manufacturer. He has got to weigh up whether it would be better to stay with a car he knows will win, or switch to a team where everything is new,” he added.
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