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Subaru quits WRC

Another motorsport loss as Subaru quits world rallying too

A day after Suzuki chose to suspend its World Rally Championship involvement, Subaru has followed suit. It'll be a bigger loss, too. Suzuki has left after just one season of competition, Subaru goes with two decades of rallying and six world titles to its name, with true some true British icons produced by the team in the shape of Colin McRae and Richard Burns.

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The decision, predictably, has been made with the downturn of the global economy and car industry in mind. It's quite a snap decision, too, with preparations for the 2009 season seemingly well underway. Where it leaves drivers Petter Solberg and Chris Atkinson remains to be seen, but Solberg at least should be able to secure a drive elsewhere.

Prodrive, who prepares and develops Subaru's WRC team, should be okay - racing Imprezas accounts for less than a fifth of the company's turnover, and plunging performance car sales has led to increased work developing alternative fuel technologies. The Oxfordshire-based engineering group should be able to spread its Subaru-focused staff across other departments, limiting the impact of the Japanese manufacturer's decision.

Prodrive has rallying business elsewhere, too, selling individual cars to customer rallying teams across 47 of the world's countries. That's the silver lining, with Subaru being a massive loss from WRC for many people.

Prodrive 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.”

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