Sebastien Ogier has signed a three year deal for Citroen, along with an inevitable contract renewal for Sebastien Loeb, starting from 2011.
Ogier had received offers from both Citroen and Ford, but has sided with the former marque – creating all-French superteam for next year.
However this has left Dani Sordo out in the cold – although team principal Olivier Quesnel has said the Spaniard will still likely be retained, a demotion to third driver now looks inevitable.
There were already ominous signs for Sordo – as Ogier will be taking his place at the full ‘works’ team for Rally Finland, Japan and GB.
Loeb did have contract clause that would have allowed him to leave the team this season, but in reality there was never any chance of him exercising it.
“Obviously, it’s a double dose of satisfaction for Citroen Racing,” said Quesnel. “Not content to have the greatest set of results in the history of rallying, Sebastien Loeb is still as hungry as ever for more victories and titles. His experience, his race intelligence, and his capacity to get 100 per cent out his cars, will be all the more crucial as we’ll have a new car next season.”
He was equally full of praise for the much younger ‘Seb Two’, despite Loeb’s earlier comments suggesting he should have departed for Ford.
“Citroen Racing has been preparing for the future with Sebastien Ogier for some time now. This is why we wanted to sign a contract with him for the next three seasons. Dani Sordo is still part of our plans for next year, but we have to finalise our budgets before announcing the full programme.”
Ogier admitted Citroen was always his favourite choice over Ford, cauing yet more disappointment for the M-Sport run team.
“I’d like to thank Citroen for renewing its confidence in me, and what’s more, for three seasons,” he said. “I made my world championship debut with this team, and I’ve always said that my priority was to stay with them.”
This leaves the second Citroen Junior Team with a free seat for next season, with Thierry Neuville believed to be in with a good shout of securing the drive.