Nasser Al-Attiyah has confirmed he is chasing a deal to run a three-car Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team next season.
The Qatari driver, speaking to WRC Live's Colin Clark ahead of the Cyprus Rally, confirmed he was hoping to conclude negotiations with M-Sport managing director Malcolm Wilson over the weekend.
Ford confirmed it would be withdrawing its title sponsorship from the Ford World Rally Team at the end of this season, leaving a budget shortfall for the Cumbrian-based outfit in 2013.
A Qatar deal, led by Al-Attiyah, has been talked about since Ford's decision last month.
Al-Attiyah told Clark: "We will be discussing next year with Malcolm [Wilson]. It's very important to keep [M-Sport] in the championship and we are hoping to find a good solution."
Asked whether it would be a two-car team with Al-Attiyah driving one of the factory-specification Fiesta RS WRCs, he replied: "A three-car M-Sport team, if the deal comes off, is our target."
Al-Attiyah would compete on seven WRC rounds in a Fiesta, with Petter Solberg reckoned most likely to lead the team.
Wilson declined to comment on the precise nature of his trip to Paphos, saying: "Yes, I am going, but I'm out there to support our M-Sport engineers who are helping Nasser to try and win the Middle East title."