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Olsbergs MSE Ford squad to take sabbatical from World RX in 2019

OlsbergsMSE will take a sabbatical from the World Rallycross Championship next season to focus on customer programmes while working on a deal ahead of the series' planned 2021 electric switch

The 2014 World Rallycross teams' champion returned to the series full-time in 2018 with a pair of new Mk8 Ford Fiesta STs for race-winning drivers Kevin Eriksson and Robin Larsson, but is yet to qualify for a final with one round of the season remaining.

Olsbergs has built 30 Fiesta Supercars in the last decade, and is currently involved in running the RallyX Nordic Championship along with the World RX-supporting RX2 class.

Team boss Andreas Eriksson has cited development costs and the need to plan ahead for World RX's anticipated electric switch as reasons why Olsbergs would take a break from the series.

"Today's decision is of course sad, but we have to do this for the company's longer-term future as the cost to operate at a competitive level today in World RX is too high for us," he said.

"As a true manufacturer of rallycross cars as well as an operator of rallycross cars all over the world, we encourage everybody involved in this sport to look at the areas of stability and cost reduction in the current Supercar regulations, as well as the affordability and return on investment for running those cars for the next 10 years."

Eriksson believes the current internal combustion engine-powered Supercars can continue to be used in rallycross if the FIA's technical regulations are tweaked.

"Our belief is that with sensible changes to the technical regulations, most of the current Supercars have a long future in the sport and this discipline can continue to grow in a healthy way - as can our company," he added.

The firm, which previously had manufacturer backing from Ford in World RX and from Honda in the now defunct GRC, is working on plans to align with a manufacturer in order to compete in World RX's planned electric transition.

"We are also very much looking forward to the arrival of electric rallycross in 2021, and as such will put our efforts next year into securing a manufacturer partner ready for its introduction," said Eriksson.

"We think the electric switch is important for the future of the sport - and for all the young drivers out there dreaming to be the best in the world.

"There are a lot of people and fans out there raising voices both for and against electric rallycross.

"I personally feel that combustion and electric can work hand-in-hand for many years to come - let's face it, we all love different kinds of music at different concerts."

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