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WRC NEWS 

Solberg discussing 2010 Proton drive

Petter SolbergPetter Solberg is in talks with Proton over a potential World Rally Championship programme in 2010.

The 2003 world champion met with the Malaysian manufacturer's directors last week and is believed to be looking at a part-time campaign this season, coupled with testing and development work on the Satria S2000 for next year.

He is due to test a MEM-built S2000-spec car at some point next month, with a view to a deal for 2010, but Solberg says nothing has been finalised yet.

"The Proton is a nice car, it's a very detailed car," he told Autosport. "I met with them and that's it. For the future, it's hard to say."

Proton director Datuk Hj Adbul Razak Dawood admitted that the WRC is Proton's goal, and believes a successful programme could help the manufacturer to establish their reputation in Europe in the same way as Subaru did in the 1990s.

"The Satria is not known as a performance car, but we have a very big following in Asia and this car would turn that into the sort of cult following that Subaru developed," he said.

"The WRC is very interesting, we'd be fighting with the big boys - the chance to take on manufacturers like Ford and Citroen, albeit using a much smaller budget, is something we would welcome."

Solberg is continuing to work towards a drive in his home WRC round in Norway next month, having submitted an entry but not specified a car. He has been linked with a Citroen C4 seat, but says he has no deal with the French firm either.

"The problem is with the number of cars - there are just so many of them out there. I am trying to get a top car to try to win the rally," said Solberg.

"If that's not possible, I'm looking at another car to put on a show for the fans [believed to be a Xsara WRC]. This is not the option I want, but it might be the only one."

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