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Nissan has decided to pull the plug on its official efforts in rally raids, after announcing on Thursday that its Nissan Rally Raid Team has been disbanded.

Although Nissan has been a front-runner in the blue-riband Dakar Rally for the past three years, it had failed to win the event and this year it missed out on the target set by its boss of at least finishing on the podium.

Brian Carolin, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Sales for Nissan Europe, said: "Competing in the Dakar enabled Nissan to communicate its core strength and expertise in 4x4 technology and off-road durability. Our focus will now switch to a broader range of communications activities to support our aggressive new model launch schedule over the next three years.”



Nissan's decision means that former world rally champion Colin McRae will need to look for a new team if he is to make his return to the Dakar Rally in 2006, having crashed out while in the lead this year.

Nissan will continue to be involved in cross-country rally events through its private teams, who will continue to receive technical support.

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