Auriol ponders his future

Didier Auriol is concerned that his rallying career may be over after Skoda announced they won't keep him on for 2004. The Frenchman is surplus to the requirements of a team that will do less than half the season next year.

Auriol ponders his future

The full-time seats are now all tied up, but Auriol may yet be able to pick up occasional drives if manufacturers decide to take on specialists for certain events.

"There are very few cars available for me to drive, particularly with the new regulations," Auriol told WRC.com. "If there is an opening during the season then we'll see.

"Driving is my passion and I would certainly be interested if a team offered me a car I could fight for podiums with.

"But I'm 45 years old now so if I get nothing during 2004 then I think the WRC will be finished for me."

The team and Auriol have parted on good terms, but since the Czech marque will only be entering events from the Acropolis Rally onwards there is no room for the experienced campaigner.

"I would loved to have gone on longer with them but now is the time to stop. We certainly remain friends. They've got lots of work to do on the car though."

Auriol was world champion in 1994 for Toyota, and earlier made his name driving Lancias. The last couple of years have seen the multiple Tour de Corse winner keep a low profile, apart from a win for Peugeot on Catalunya in 2001.

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