The World Rally Championship's return of retrospective manufacturers looks set to continue, with Saab now tipped to follow Mini back to the sport's highest level.
Saab, which last competed in the WRC in 1979, has been linked to a possible entry in 2012, with the company's first World Rally car running off a possible 9-1 or 9-2 base car. The engine for the car would be likely to come from BMW, meaning a universal 1.6-liter turbocharged motor for the Mini and Saab.
After being on the verge of collapse late last year, Saab has been purchased from General Motors by Spyker. Senior officials from Spyker have already met with the sport's organizers, and they are expected to go into the next round of meetings at the Rally of France in early October.
"The initial meeting [between Saab and WRC officials, believed to include both the FIA commissions and promoter North One Sport] has happened and there's a huge amount of enthusiasm from all concerned," A source told AUTOSPORT. "Like Mini, Saab has a great heritage in the sport and a return to the WRC makes a lot of sense."
North One Sport's Simon Long refused to be drawn on specific manufacturers, but said: "I think Mini's announcement has given people a lot of confidence in the sport. The messages we're getting are all positive."
Volkswagen is believed to be the next manufacturer ready to commit to the WRC, with the German manufacturer expected to begin a limited program of WRC rounds in 2012 before a possible full entry in 2013.