1995 World Rally champion Colin McRae will not drive for Subaru in 2004, according to reports in the British press.

The Scot was informed of the decision last night, after team boss David Lapworth meet with high-ranking officials from the Japanese manufacturer in Monaco.

McRae told The Independent: "I'm very disappointed at the way I've been dealt with. The deal was agreed verbally but then I was told there was a problem. That's the second time they built up my hopes and then knocked them down again."

"Money wasn't the issue with me," continued the Scot, "because the fee we agreed was way below what I've been earning in recent years. I wanted to go to a team that would give me a realistic chance of winning the championship. Now I'm just thoroughly cheesed off with the whole situation."

Speaking to The Times he added: "A deal was verbally done [that's what is frustrating], apart from the bonuses. So much so, I tested the car the next day. Now it is off. I have never been treated like this in all the deals I have done in rallying."

McRae, who will now concentrate his energies on the Paris-Dakar Rally with Nissan, said he would look to make alternative plans for the rest of 2004 once that event is over.

"I want to concentrate on Dakar now," concluded the Brit, "and then I'll take a look at other possibilities when I get back."

Former Ford driver Mikko Hirvonen is now tipped to take the drive, although The Times adds that Toni Gardemeister, may also be in the frame.

Gardemeister drove for Skoda this season, making his WRC debut back in 2000 with SEAT.

Subaru meanwhile have yet to make any official comment on who will replace the unwell Richard Burns, one is expected on Monday.



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