Japanese manufacturer confirms its withdrawal from World Rally
16 December 2008

Subaru is axing its World Rally Championship programme with immediate effect, leaving the series with just Ford and Citroen committed to the 2009 season.

Subaru has competed in the top flight of rallying since 1990, and it has used the Impreza (in various guises) since 1994. Subaru’s motorsport programme is credited with helping Subaru to become a cult performance manufacturer, a market far removed from its traditional rural customer base.

However, the global economic slowdown has forced Subaru to rethink its presence in the WRC. And rallying’s newly rubber-stamped technical regulations, due to be introduced in 2010, specify that the top teams will use a car based on the current Super 2000 specification of machinery.

This would, in effect, have forced Subaru to develop a brand new car, since the Impreza only exists in World Rally Car and more standard Group N forms.

The move is bad news for Prodrive, the Banbury-based engineering consultancy that introduced the brand to the sport and has been responsible for its efforts for the last 18 years.

Prodrive’s chairman, David Richards, said, “Subaru’s departure from the World Rally Championship is a great loss as it is one of the sport’s icons. The Subaru World Rally Team has created true champions such as Colin McRae and Richard Burns and its absence will be felt by many the world over. Although this decision closes a significant chapter in Prodrive’s history, our focus now turns to the future.”

Prodrive is insisting that Subaru’s team amounted to “no more than 20 per cent” of its turnover. It hopes to redeploy rally team staff to other areas of its business.

The WRC now looks desperately weak; Subaru’s withdrawal comes only days after Suzuki announced that it was pulling the plug on its fledgling SX4 WRC campaign.

John McIlroy

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Comments
13

16 December 2008

100% gutted. I have been supporting Subaru since the McRae days, and like me I am sure many fans will be disappointed. However with the economic crisis Ican understand why.

16 December 2008

I agree with Penny9966, but we must look at it in a positive way.

WRC has been in a bit of a dilemma in recent years and this may be just the kick up the a**e the organisers need.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

16 December 2008

Not a complete surprise, there were mutterings recently. A shame as Subaru are one of the modern icons of Motorsport.

As well as the current financial issues, the sport has been grossly mismanaged by the FIA. They concentrate far too much on F1, now look what has happened. There were warnings as far ago as 2004/05 - Mitsubishi, Peugeot, Skoda all pulling out - yet nothing was done. A Global Promoter has been promised for ages but not delivered , the idiotic rotational calendar - how do you leave Monte out of the WRC? Would Monaco be left out of the F1 Season??

Unbelievable......

16 December 2008

It's totally nothing to do with economy, but all to do with the politics of WRC.

Isn't ISC belonging to David Richards that is the commercial promoter of WRC?

And who owns Eurosport that does TV for IRC? The French TF1 station.

Lobby the FIA and the world rally board to rewrite rules that favours you and you kill off the rival.

Eurosport is way bigger than ISC and so its lobby power must follow in kind.

I wouldn't be surprised to see French car makers to continue dominating both IRC and WRC.

Perhaps, WRC will fall into the hands of Eurosport one day, too.

The Brits have F1 so the French gets Rallying.

It's politics and money over sport.

That's the way I see it

16 December 2008

Totally gutted. I agree with all of the above. The FIA couldn't run a bath and forgive the cliche, but it's the fans that will suffer most from this, assuming that they have a sport left to watch.

Thank you SWRT for all the entertainment that you have provided over the years. You will be sorely missed.

16 December 2008

Blimey, that was Subaru`s biggest image booster!!!.

I use an Impreza 1.5r, and whilst its not a bad car you wouldn`t break your neck to get into one.

Any bets on Subaru disappearing completely in the next few years?

16 December 2008

Go to www.wrc.com and you'll see why it has little chance of survival. Images don't load, and if you do want to see what's happening you've got to stump up some cash. It's bad enough you've got to search out for when coverage is on (Dave - and it's actually been quite good too).

WRC lost it's public appeal, and with it support from manufacturers.

As a Subaru owner (although it's up for sale at the moment) I'm sorry to see the team leave, but speaking to other Subaru owners none of them are too impressed with the current version of the Impreza anyway.

The worst thing that could happen to WRC, though, is Loeb not getting a drive. We're watching one of the greatest drivers of all time right now, and I said this in his first season of WRC that he was something special. Just glad to be proved right.

I do hope that the independant teams are able to make up the field for WRC (and BTCC), but I also hope that someone takes over their website and works to make rally watching popular again. Can we not all remember the days when Rally Watch was on TV giving updates thoughout the night of who managed to survive Killier Kilder forest?

16 December 2008

I am sorry to suggest that anyone who can't see why Subaru are withdrawing from the WRC must have their heads firmly buried in the sand !

Subaru as a manufacture (with the exception of their excellent diesel varieties), have a product line and product base which is not fuel efficient. They are all excellent products with the highest levels of build quality and I love them, BUT in a world market place which is going very steeply downhill, so is the market of Subaru.

There are of course enormous problems with anything to do with the FIA and the battles between them and any of the regional / national bodies, but I am sure that these have absolutely nothing to do with the decision made by Subaru. Just like Honda's withdrawal from F1, I feel sure Subaru's decision is purely down to basic, raw economics................. SORRY

Loving life in France with my Springers

16 December 2008

What will they call their psuedo racing versions now - XWRC ?

16 December 2008

And today, the next manufacturer to leave will be in F1?

WRC without the Monte-Carlo! RIDICULOUS!!!!

Where will be the Night of the Turini?? In IRC only... Is-this championship the future of the WRC?

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