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WRC NEWS 

Raikkonen close to Citroen WRC deal

Kimi RaikkonenKimi Raikkonen is on the verge of committing his future to Citroen in the World Rally Championship, AUTOSPORT has learned, with an announcement expected within the next few weeks.

The former Formula 1 world champion has been the subject of intense speculation over recent months - with the Finn having been linked with a return to grand prix racing or a switch to Ford in the WRC at various points over the year.

However, his interest in Renault cooled when he got annoyed that details of his contact were leaked to the press as the Enstone-based team held back on deciding what to do with Vitaly Petrov.

Most recently, Raikkonen's talks with Ford were understood to have reached an advanced stage about him joining up with Ken Block in the Monster-sponsored team.

But, despite looking at options elsewhere, Raikkonen's stance over recent weeks was always to remain a WRC driver and Citroen Sport director Olivier Quesnel said the French firm wants to keep him.

High level sources have revealed to AUTOSPORT that Raikkonen recently agreed to remain at his current Citroen Junior outfit for 2011 so he can build on the experience he gained this year.

His management team was unavailable for comment about the state of negotiations with Citroen, while Red Bull would only confirm that it remains in negotiations with the former Ferrrari driver about 2011.

However, a source close to the Citroen team told AUTOSPORT: "We expect Kimi to be here again next year. He has talked to a few people about a few things, but this is where he's going to be. The agreement, we're told, is made."

During his debut season in the WRC, Raikkonen's best result was fifth place on the Rally of Turkey - while he won his first ever stage on the Rallye Deutschland.

Once his deal is officially signed and confirmed by the team, Raikkonen is expected to get his first taste of his 2011 DS3 WRC in the first few weeks of January.

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