Citroën has selected Spanish veteran Carlos Sainz ahead of team-mate Colin McRae as its second driver for the 2004 WRC season. Does the little Scot still have a future in the sport?

Citroën has selected Spanish veteran Carlos Sainz ahead of team-mate Colin McRae as its second driver for the 2004 WRC season. Does the little Scot still have a future in the sport?


The Spaniard last week signed a one-year deal with the French team, joining rising superstar Sebastien Loeb, who signed a two-year extension to his contract with the team in July.


Sainz, 41, is currently joint second in the driver standings, scoring the Citroen Xsara's first ever win on gravel in the inaugural Rally of Turkey earlier this year.


With Sainz taking the second seat at Citroen, there are now no top-line drives available to team-mate Colin McRae for next year. His only manufacturer choices would be with one of the smaller WRC teams, such as Skoda, Hyundai or Mitsubishi. He could also finance a drive himself with the likes of Peugeot or Subaru, but he would be not eligible to score manufacturer points.


"This has been one the toughest decisions I have had to take during my career as Team Director," said Citroen boss Guy Frequelin. "The qualities of Colin and Carlos have never been in doubt. Both are top-notch drivers with impressive track records. In an ideal world, we would have kept both of them as team-mates for Seb. But we had to choose. I would like to thank Colin for everything he has achieved for us. Throughout the season, both these factors have contributed to Citroen's results so far."


McRae has said he will not walk away from the World Rally Championship at the end of this season, adding that he would even find sponsorship to buy a drive with one of the top four teams if necessary.


"I have still got some unfinished business in the WRC," he said. "There are lots of options for me to look at."


Richard Burns, who recently signed up for Subaru’s 2004 season, said the WRC wouldn't be the same place without his traditional rival.


"I don't think the world championship is going to be quite right if Colin is not around next season," said Burns. "He's a good name and a superb pull for the championship."