Solberg and Auriol firm up options

The World Rally Championship driver merry-go-round is set to slow to a stop within the next week as more key deals are firmed up for 2001. Decisions are expected imminently from wunderkind Petter Solberg and veteran Didier Auriol

Solberg and Auriol firm up options

With top men Colin McRae, Tommi Makinen and Richard Burns all staying put at their respective teams, Solberg and Auriol are two of the few key players yet to have confirmed their drives for next year.

Solberg has been with Ford this year in a third Focus WRC alongside McRae and Carlos Sainz, and observers understood that the 24-year-old has a five-year contract with the Blue Oval.

However, the Prodrive-run Subaru team is believed to have found a weakness in the agreement and has reputedly made the Norwegian a multi-million dollar offer to partner Richard Burns in an Impreza next year.

Prodrive technical director David Lapworth confirmed that there "had been discussions" with Solberg and said: "It's fair to say that talks are continuing."

Didier Auriol finds himself in much the same situation and the Frenchman will decide whether he will stay at SEAT after talks with the team this week about the performance of the car and improvements for 2001.

"I would like Didier to stay, but this is something we will discuss this week." said Vicente Aguilera, president of SEAT Sport. "We have many things to discuss with Didier, about the performance of the car and the direction of the team."

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