OGIER TO CITROEN? MEEKE TO TOYOTA? WRC DRIVER MARKET HOTTING UP
With just three rounds to go, championship leader Thierry Neuville, five-time defending champion Sebastian Ogier and the man of the moment Ott Tänak all can win the 2018 World Rally Championship in what is arguably the best championship of the decade. Tänak, on a role of three wins in a row, the first since 2016, is looking to break Ogier's dominance, which could be triggering a massive change-up in the WRC drivers line-up.
OGIER TO COME HOME?
Sebastian Ogier started his career at Citroen, but found success at Volkswagen and M-Sport, but is reportedly getting ready to come back home to Citroen. The 38-year old revealed that the contract is in the process and this will be his last contract before retiring, believed to be a three-year deal.
After Kris Meeke was axed by Citroen, the French team didn't have a clear 1st driver, duties shared between Breen and Østberg, but Citroen aren't done here.
LAPPI TO MAKE SURPRISE MOVE TO CITROEN?
In June it was revealed that Esapekka Lappi was in talks with Citroen to move there, but recently it has emerged that the deal is getting much more serious, with the 27 year old Flying Finn close to a deal.
In 2017 he won Rally Finland for his first rally win, and in 2018 despite not winning a rally, his consistent results has put him fourth in the championship.
WHERE DOES THAT LEAVE ØSTBERG?
Mads østberg made his WRC return this year with Citroen, and was hoping for a seat in 2019, but with the arrivals of Ogier and Lappi, he could be forced to look somewhere else.
Citroen have made it clear they would like to retain Breen, but whether Citroen will run a similar system to Hyundai's four-driver team in 2019 is another question. M-Sport is a possibility, but the Norweigan would probably like to stay the French team if he can.
KRIS MEEKE TO RETURN?
All of this movement has allowed Kris Meeke to enter the frame once more. After being axed by Citroen, he was left out in the cold, but recently it has emerged that Toyota are possibly looking at signing the Northern Irishman, who could play a key role in Toyota's long-term future.
HAYDEN PADDON TO M-SPORT?
Finally we are left with Hyundai. The team will retain team leader Thierry Neuville and Andreas Mikkelsen, but currently have Dani Sordo and Hayden Paddon sharing a seat. Sordo, in his five races, has scored two podiums and two fourth places whilst Paddon has scored one podium so far, despite being only eleven points behind Ogier.
Though Paddon is much more consistent, he is more likely to try and find another seat, and M-Sport could be the location if they don't sign Østberg.
Here is what the 2019 line-up could look like:
M-Sport: Evans, Paddon, Sunninen
Citroen: Ogier, Lappi, Breen, Østberg
Toyota: Tänak, Latvala, Meeke
Hyundai: Neuville, Mikkelsen, Sordo