Peugeot UK is expected to reveal its new driver for the Intercontinental Rally Challenge in the next two weeks – with the firm also ready to firm up a longer-term commitment to the series.
The company would not be drawn on the identity of the driver to replace its outgoing IRC champion Kris Meeke,who will be announced as part of Mini's World Rally Championship program tomorrow. The shortlist is believed to include Alister McRae, Niall McShea, Keith Cronin, Martin McCormack and Adam Gould.
Gould is the only driver on the list who has previous experience of the 207 S2000, having driven BF Goodrich's guest car briefly, before the engine blew, on last year's Rally of Scotland.
Both McRae and McShea have considerably more experience than the other drivers, with both having driven for the Proton team this season. McRae returns to the Satria Neo S2000, the car which he drove to second on last year's Rally of Scotland, for next month's Perth-based event.
Double British champion Cronin will also drive for Proton in Scotland, with the Irishman considered an outside bet for the 2011 Peugeot seat, with a British driver thought to be the preferred option.
A spokesman from Peugeot UK admitted the potential driver's experience was not uppermost in the minds of the team.
"When we started out with Kris," said the spokesman, "we were looking for points and podiums in the first season before starting to build toward the title this year. We really didn't expect the results and the championship we got in the first year. So we're not necessarily looking for a driver who's going to come in and win straight away. In fairness, it's reasonably unlikely that we would be able to pick a driver ready to win rallies immediately.
"There's nothing for us to say about the drivers [under consideration]. A decision is not imminent, we will make an announcement about the program when we are ready."