Sébastien Loeb and Malcolm Wilson are actively discussing the potential for the nine-time World Rally Champion to drive a Ford Puma Rally1 next season.
Loeb told DirtFish earlier this year that he was interested in returning to the World Rally Championship during the 2021 season and that he would be calling Wilson.
DirtFish understands the two have recently talked about the potential for a limited program of events next year.
“We’re talking, and that’s all you’re going to get out of me,” said Wilson.
M-Sport’s managing director refused to answer more questions on the nature of a deal, but he’s always admitted he would like the opportunity to work with Loeb.
Wilson came close to landing his signature on a contract in 2005, when Loeb tested a Ford Focus RS WRC 04 in Cumbria and considered jumping ship from Citroën. He eventually remained with the French marque before a two-year limited program at Hyundai that concluded at the end of last season.
Loeb is currently engaged in Extreme E with Lewis Hamilton’s X44 team as well as working towards a second Dakar outing with Prodrive in January.
But he also refused to shut the door on the potential for more WRC action.
In April, Loeb told DirtFish: “Maybe if somebody calls me [about a drive], if Malcolm [Wilson] asks me to do a rally and he needs me, then why not?
“If Malcolm needs somebody one day, not for all of the season or half the season, why not?
“I will not go to Finland, but Turkey was good for the memory last year.”
The event where Loeb’s presence could be most keenly felt is the one he’s least likely to do. The recce for January’s Monte Carlo Rally starts on Monday January 17, just two days after Dakar concludes in Jedda, Saudi Arabia.
Beyond bringing vast experience and continued speed to the team, a Loeb agreement would also offer the potential for him to mentor his countryman Adrien Fourmaux, who is near-certain to land a full-time seat next year with the WRC title-winning team of 2017.
As well as the French link, bringing Loeb to the team would also strengthen M-Sport’s Red Bull association.
The question of who would co-drive for Loeb should he return to the WRC looks to have been answered with the news that he and Daniel Elena will be back together for Rally Mont-Blanc Morzine next month.
They will compete in Loeb’s Peugeot 306 Maxi for the first time since they parted company following this year’s Dakar.