28-year-old Sebastien Loeb has agreed a two-year extension on his current Citroen contract, meaning that either Colin McRae or Carlos Sainz - both former world champions - will be out of a drive with the team next season.

McRae was originally chosen to partner Loeb this season, but with Sainz also losing his seat at Ford his sponsor Telefonica stepped in to help seal a late deal to drive a third car for the French marque.

It is therefore logical to assume that McRae's 2004 deal is more concrete - but it is the Spaniard who currently leads Citroen's charge in the drivers' championship, sitting just one point behind leader Richard Burns with seven of the fourteen rounds gone... and brings the all-important Telefonica money.

Meanwhile, McRae is tied with Loeb and Markko Martin for fifth, 13 points behind Sainz... so it looks as though both the Spaniard and the Scotsman will be racing for their careers in the remaining seven events.

Citroen are prevented from keeping both McRae and Sainz, alongside Loeb, due to the radical new rules for the 2004 season, which requires manufacturer teams to have no more than two drivers who have finished in the top three of a rally, in the past three years.

That means that not only Citroen, but also reigning champions Peugeot - who currently have Marcus Gronholm, Richard Burns, Gilles Panizzi and Harri Rovanpera on the books - need to revise their line-up for next year.

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