Subaru Pull Out of World Rally Championship

Well, it seems as though there is more sad news for automakers participating in motorsport during this economic downturn. It was just announced, not 24 hours after the departure of Suzuki from the WRC, that Subaru – yes you read that correctly – will be leaving as well. Following Honda in F1, the Subaru WRC team had a great history. The team was an upstart in the early 90s with the Legacy, and then changed everything with the introduction of the Impreza. The team won three consecutive manufacturer’s titles in the mid-90s and spawned three driver’s titles including the late Colin McRae, the late Richard Burns and Petter Solberg.

This is sad for many a Subaru owner, including myself, as this was the sport that made me interested in cars. I loved the sound, the speed and the sheer thrill that came with seeing men brave the forests and cliffs of the world in their blue and yellow cars, just to try and get them over a finish line faster than someone else. Rallying as a sport has always been in the background. They don’t even broadcast the sport on this continent and when they did, it was on at very odd hours.

Anyway, here is the statement from Subaru, and the encouraging words that sound like they are just doing this pullout until the world economy turns around. Also, it seems that there are going to be new regulations for WRC in 2010 and Prodrive boss David Richards has said that Subaru is looking to return then. So while this is a sad turn of events, as Subaru is one of my favorite car manufacturers and their rally program fanned the flames of my early motorsport and car dreams, it may end up better on the other side. Here’s hoping it does.

Essentially, this leaves only Citroen and Ford to try and win the WRC title and that will probably spell disaster for the sport as a whole, because who wants to watch a two horse race all the time? All that fans of rallying can do at this point is hope that the economies everywhere start to turn around so we can go back to enjoying the sports we love.

 

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