Sebastien Ogier to test for potential 2017 WRC teams next week

Sebastien Ogier will start testing with potential 2017 World Rally Championship employers next week

Sebastien Ogier to test for potential 2017 WRC teams next week

The WRC champion will skip the series' end-of-season party after Rally Australia in Sydney on Monday, preferring to fly straight back to Europe to focus his efforts on firming up on his 2017 plans following Volkswagen's pullout.

DAVID EVANS: Where will Ogier go for 2017?

Ogier is negotiating with VW to find a way around the contractual obligation that stipulates he cannot test rival cars.

"I hope this is to be agreed," he said.

"We have what you say is a gentlemen's agreement that I can work on my future.

"I hope when I go back to Europe very quickly I can work on this new project because there are only a couple of weeks before Monte Carlo.

"It's no secret that I have been having some talks with a couple of teams, the next step is to work harder on it with them and have a bit more clue about what the plan is for the future.

"I like to judge before I sign with anybody and also to try the car - it's important to have some feeling for which car I could drive next year."

M-Sport and Citroen are understood to be vying to sign Ogier for 2017.

Ogier admitted his situation not ideal going into the new season.

"I would wish to know as soon as possible, so we can work," he said.

"We are already late to be in the optimal condition for Monte Carlo.

"I hope to make my decision soon. There are a couple of teams willing to work with me, but I cannot say the situation is comfortable.

"But at least I have more options in my hand."

MIKKELSEN: AUSTRALIA WILL BE 'SO SAD'

While Ogier has largely steered clear of expressing his emotions over VW's shock exit from the championship it has dominated for the past four years, his team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen admitted the call from team boss Sven Smeets "came as a shock".

Mikkelsen told Autosport: "We heard the rumours in Wales, but they were just rumours. This was a real shock.

"We all want to do the best result and finish in style. It is emotional when you come in and see the look in the mechanics' eyes. Something is different in this rally compared to normal.

"It will be emotional on Sunday when we start the cars for the last time.

"It's so sad, this is such a great team and we have had so much success, to see that come to an end is so sad and everybody feels that."

Mikkelsen added that dealing with the news has impacted on his preparations for the season finale.

"Normally we work a lot with the videos," he said.

"But while I was watching the video, there were times when my mind slipped a little bit and I was thinking: 'Hmm, what's going on now? What car will I be sitting in next year?'

"For sure, it's not helping, but I still feel very well prepared."

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