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RML closing on announcement

23 February 2013

Team boss Ray Mallock has revealed that RML hopes to be able to confirm its future plans within the next two weeks.

The team secured both World Touring Car Championship titles for a third successive season in 2012 but has been forced to evaluate its options for the year ahead after Chevrolet elected to bring its factory programme to an end.

Much of the discussion surrounding the team has focused around the suggestion of a privateer programme this year using the same Chevrolet Cruze that the team has run in recent seasons, before focus shifts to a new manufacturer deal in 2014.

Already, RML has been linked with at least one new manufacturer, with TouringCarTimes.com reporting late last year that the team was in negotiations with Renault about a possible deal for 2014 and beyond.

With the opening rounds of the 2012 season at Monza now less than a month away, Mallock has revealed that his team should soon be able to confirm its plans, although the departure of Chevrolet having left RML with a fresh challenge during the off-season.

"We have been working hard over the winter to put a programme together," he told the Hungarian website Túraautó Hírblog, "and I hope that we have exciting news to announce in the next two weeks.

"The global economic situation and the fact that the WTCC will bring in new technical rules in 2014 make it difficult at the moment, but we know that the WTCC is a very cost-effective marketing opportunity for manufacturers and sponsors. The new rules will only intensify that."

Admitting that any potential drivers for this season would need to bring some budget to the table, Mallock refused to be drawn on any details for 2014 and beyond – only confirming that talks with a number of manufacturers were ongoing in regards to various projects.

Aside from its WTCC programme with Chevrolet, RML has also worked closely with Nissan in recent years; helping to develop the Nissan Juke-R both and working on engine that was used to power the innovative Deltawing machine seen in last year's Le Mans 24 Hours.

"There are a lot of rumours going around and we are indeed in discussions with different people," he said, "but these discussions will remain confidential until negotiations have finished and a contract has been signed."

Both defending champion Rob Huff and three-time title winner Yvan Muller have been linked with the team over the winter, with Huff making no secret of his desire to return to the WTCC to defend his title, and Muller revealing this week that his own future plans would soon become apparent.

Alain Menu, who like Huff had been part of the Chevrolet WTCC programme from the very beginning, looks set to miss out on a place on the grid this year, revealing that it was 'almost certain' that he wouldn't compete in the series but could be involved with a new project elsewhere.


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