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Gronholm return now unlikely

Marcus GronholmThe chances of Marcus Gronholm driving a Subaru Impreza WRC next season appear to have diminished after the Banbury team are reported to have re-structured the potential deal to bring the double world champion out of retirement.

Sources within the Subaru World Rally Team have confirmed there is a desire to employ Gronholm on a rolling four-event agreement rather than a straight season-long deal. Gronholm was unavailable for comment on this, but he is understood not to be interested in what would be a potentially short-term return.

The change in structure of the deal is thought to be financially motivated. Subaru's budget for next season is reportedly being trimmed by parent company Fuji Heavy Industries and the cash for Gronholm is thought to be coming from Prodrive itself.

The source said: "Nothing is confirmed with Marcus at all. The deal is not straightforward and we're looking at options. One of those [options] could be an alternative to a regular 12-rally agreement for 2009."

Richard Taylor, Subaru World Rally Team's managing director, said: "It is not our policy to discuss contracts."

A source close to Gronholm said: "They [Gronholm and Subaru] were quite close [to a deal], but now it's going to be tough. They are quite a way apart. Marcus has an idea of the deal he wants and it's not what they offer - particularly not this four-rally thing. That's not so good for him [Gronholm], I think."

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