Nissen: Loeb’s decision provides clarity

“It makes life much easier for us”

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By www.wrc.com

31 August 2011 - 14:15
Nissen: Loeb’s decision provides (...)

Volkswagen Motorsport boss Kris Nissen says Sebastien Loeb’s decision to commit his World Rally Championship future to Citroen will help his firm’s efforts to finalise its driver line-up.

The German manufacturer will enter the WRC in 2013 following a season of testing and development, which is expected to include appearances on all rounds of next year’s world championship, albeit with a Super 2000-specification Skoda Fabia.

Along with Citroen, Volkswagen was Loeb’s chief suitor but its efforts to prise the seven-time champion away from the French make proved unsuccessful when he inked an extension to his multi-year agreement with Citroen prior to ADAC Rallye Deutschland last month.

“We are very happy that he [Loeb] signed for Citroen - it makes life much easier for us,” Nissen told Autosport magazine in the UK. “Now all the drivers who wanted to take his place at Citroen can concentrate on MINI, Ford and Volkswagen.”

Despite Loeb’s decision to stay put Volkswagen remains determined to land the services of a proven event winner, as Nissen explained: “We would not sign a top driver tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. I am very confident we will have, in 2013, one experienced driver who will have won races.”

Volkswagen has shortlisted a total of 25 potential candidates to drive its Polo R WRCs in 2013 with New Zealander Emma Gilmour the latest name linked to the company’s ongoing driver assessment programme. “We would like to see Emma in one of our cars for a test,” said Nissen. “Then we will decide if we put her on an event.”

So far, Finn Joonas Lindroos, Norwegian Andreas Mikkelsen, German Christian Riedemann and Dutch driver Hans Weijs have been given the chance to prove their worth on one-off appearances in the world championship.

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