Rydell wants to stay in the driving seat

British Touring Car superstar Rickard Rydell wants to race on in touring cars next year, rather than take a year out and return to Volvo in 2002

Rydell wants to stay in the driving seat

The 33-year-old Swede, who left the family florist firm when he was a teenager to become a racing driver, finished third in this year's championship after an epic fight with Ford team-mates Alain Menu and Anthony Reid. He is now looking at options in the BTCC and Germany's DTM to keep racing in 2001.

"I'm looking at all opportunities and will do the most interesting one on offer," he said. "I'm not worried because there are still quite a few openings available to me, and there's not that many good drivers around. I'm sure I'll get a chance somewhere. I won't go back to the florists - not yet, anyway!"

But despite being hot property on the touring car market, Rydell has yet to secure a deal for next season - but has a tempting option for 2002.

"I'm talking to a couple of manufacturers about the BTCC, I'm talking to at least one manufacturer in the DTM and I'm talking to Volvo about what they're going to do," he added. "It looks like Volvo wants to do the 2002 European Touring Car Championship, so there's a good chance I'll do that, but that means not racing next year. I want to keep my connection with Volvo, which would mean testing next year, but I also want to race and have a couple of possibilities."

Rydell has confirmed he is willing to take pay cut next year in line with the reduction in BTCC budgets. Paddock rumours suggested he was the best paid of Ford's trio last year, earning about £500,000.

"We're all aware that we can't make as much money as we have in the last few years, especially the last two years or so," he said. "Drivers' salaries are always going to be a percentage of the overall budget, and if the budget is going to be cut by a half then the salaries are going to be cut by a half.

"But it's always important for a top team to have a good driver. There's a lot of young drivers around, but teams will never know until they put them in a car whether they'll be good or not. Some drivers can't adapt to front-wheel drive and some can't adapt to touring cars, so it's always a risk," he added.

For full Rickard Rydell Q&A click HERE.

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