Ford's trio to renew battle in Germany?

Ford's BTCC stars could be on the verge of a mass exodus to the DTM next year

Ford's trio to renew battle in Germany?

Rickard Rydell tested a Mercedes CLK at Hockenheim on Wednesday and Thursday, following on from Dutch driver Tom Coronel who suffered an accident during his test on Monday. Motorbike racing star Ralf Waldmann also drove a Mercedes at the same venue on Friday.

Rydell's options for next year are to remain in the BTCC, most likely with Peugeot, or take a year out to develop Volvo's 2002 touring car for the European series. But the test must surely give him a shout of a seat in a works DTM Merc.

The Swede was unable to comment about the DTM test, but said: "I haven't signed any deals with anyone yet and I've not decided where I will be racing next year. I'm still talking to a number of manufacturers."

A Mercedes spokesman said: "These are all the drivers we will test for the time being. But it is possible we may test more."

F3000 racer Christijan Albers had been expected to test, but didn't get to drive this week. He is likely to be given a run in the future, however.

Rumours linking Prodrive with Opel's DTM attack intensified this week, with the possibility of both Anthony Reid and Alain Menu joining the Opel ranks. The Russelheim marque is keen to up its game in 2001 in an all-out effort to beat Mercedes, and the Banbury outfit, along with its star drivers, would fit its bill.

Another rumour is that the German Manthey squad is expected to be one of the first privateer entries next year with a pair of CLKs. Mercedes declined to comment on the matter.

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