Hot on the heels of Mini's withdrawal from the World Rally Championship, Ford has announced its departure after fifteen years in the series.
Yesterday's news that BMW had withdrawn its Mini division
from the World Rally Championship came as little surprise, lackluster as the program has been for the Anglo-Saxon automaker. Today's announcement, however, comes as a bigger shock to the international motorsport scene. After fifteen years in the WRC, Ford has announced that it, like BMW/Mini, is shuttering its rally program and withdrawing its factory support from the championship. The automaker cited financial constraints as the reason.
That does not mean, however, that there won't be Fords entered in the WRC next season and onwards. M-Sport, the company that ran Ford's rally team to the effect of 52 wins and two manufacturers' titles, plans to continue fielding the Fiesta RS in the series. "Ford has a long and proud history in the WRC and this was not an easy decision," said Ford VP Roelant de Waard. Ford's withdrawal from the WRC leaves returning champion Citroen and newcomers Hyundai and Volkswagen as the only automakers officially competing in the series that, until just a couple of days ago, was shaping up to have five manufacturers lining up next season.