Juho Hanninen has been linked with a return to the World Rally Championship with M-Sport after his departure from Skoda.
The Finn clinched the IRC title in 2010 driving a Skoda Fabia S2000 and then won the SWRC the following season during a successful spell as part of the Skoda factory line-up but has elected to move on after four years.
Reports have now linked him to a drive with M-Sport for at least the opening events of the 2013 season, with the likes of Petter Solberg, Thierry Neuville and Evgeny Novikov also linked to the current vacancy alongside Mads Ostberg and Nasser Al-Attiyah.
“These have been the best four years of our lives,” Hanninen said of his decision to leave Skoda along with co-driver Mikko Markkula. “We will never forget the opportunity that Skoda has given us and we'd like to thank the brand for all it has done for us.
“Skoda has helped us grow and we have achieved a huge number of great victories. We are grateful for every moment we've spent with the team.”
Hanninen will be replaced in the Skoda line-up by Esapekka Lappi, who will contest selected events on the WRC-2 (formally SWRC) schedule.
Jan Kopecky meanwhile will take part in selected rounds of the new European Championship.