Rising WRC star Sébastien Loeb is likely to remain a PSA driver next year, as sibling companies Peugeot and Citroën are both keen to sign the young French ace for 2004.

Rising WRC star Sébastien Loeb is likely to remain a PSA driver next year, as sibling companies Peugeot and Citroën are both keen to sign the young French ace for 2004.

Loeb's Citroën contract expires at the end of the season and the possibility of a move to the other arm of the PSA empire has been raised by the changes to the World Rally Championship driver nomination rules.

Last week, the FIA informed the World Rally Championship Commission that in 2004 works teams would be permitted just two drivers who have recently finished in the top three of a World Championship round. With Marcus Gronholm already signed for next year, Peugeot will be reluctant to depend on Frenchman Gilles Panizzi or Finland’s Harri Rovanpera should Richard Burns decide to leave - as neither Panizzi nor Rovanpera is seen as truly competitive in all circumstances.

Burns has not won a WRC event since he joined Peugeot in 2002, and some argue that the Briton has been lacklustre and intimidated by Gronholm. This has fuelled speculation that Burns may be keen to return to Subaru, the team with which he won the world championship in 2001.

While Loeb lacks Burns's experience, he is a proven winner and is universally regarded as one of the brightest of the emerging stars. He could also generate plenty of favourable publicity in France, Peugeot’s home market.

"We're talking, but nothing's decided," Loeb said, when asked if he was committed to Citroën for 2004. He declined to comment on possible discussions with Peugeot.

Original article from Car