The Subaru World Rally team has begun talks with Colin McRae according to reports in the British press, however the Banbury based squad has yet to sign any agreement with the Scot, as they wait to see whether or not Ford will compete in 2004.

Should Ford decide not to take part in the WRC next season, then it is believed that Markko Martin will be favourite to replace Richard Burns, who has been forced to abandon plans to take part in 2004, after being diagnosed with a brain tumour, something that was officially announced last Monday.

It appears then that Citroen reject McRae may be a contingency plan, something team boss, David Lapworth confirmed in part to British newspaper, The Guardian. He told the broadsheet paper, that Ford's decision was important and that it has "to be part of our calculations".

A number of other drivers have also been linked to Burns' drive, including Ford number two, Francois Duval, and Harri Rovanpera could also be an option, after Peugeot axed him from their line-up on Friday.

Tommi Makinen has not been mentioned recently, and it may be that the Finn has decided not to go back on his decision to retire.

Ford meanwhile has until next Monday, December 1 to make an announcement regarding their plans for next year, when registration for the 2004 championship closes. Although the team enjoyed a largely positive campaign in 2003, Ford Europe has lost over ?300 million in the last six months, something that has jeopardised the WRC programme.

Ford's decision may well seal McRae's WRC fate.

More to follow as and when we get it...



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