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Peugeot to withdraw from World Rallycross at end of 2018 season

Peugeot will withdraw from the World Rallycross Championship after the final round of the 2018 season in South Africa next month

The manufacturer announced its departure on Thursday morning, in conjunction with news about the development of a new range of electric sports vehicles it is developing from 2020.

Peugeot cited uncertainty surrounding World RX's switch to electric cars, which has been postponed from 2020 until '21, as the reason for leaving the championship it entered as a full works outfit for the first time this season.

"Peugeot will concentrate its resources on developing these new [electric sports] vehicles and has therefore decided to withdraw from the WRX championship at the end of the 2018 season, whose evolution towards electrification is uncertain," said Peugeot brand CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato in a tweet.

The news comes less than two months after Audi withdrew its support of Mattias Ekstrom's EKS Audi Sport team in the series in favour of focusing on Formula E and DTM.

Along with Peugeot and Volkswagen, Audi was one of the brands expected to sign up for World RX's electric era.

But Audi was the only one of the three not to commit to the move, which resulted in the 12-month delay in order to give other manufacturers more time to sign up.

Peugeot has held a presence in top-level rallycross since World RX's inception in 2014.

Initially supporting 14-time European Rallycross champion Kenneth Hansen's team for four years, Peugeot entered the series as a full factory effort for 2018 with a clear target to market its electric consumer cars from 2020 with a rallycross programme.

It introduced a new in-house developed Peugeot 208 WRX Supercar for the Swedish round in July for Timmy Hansen and nine-time World Rally champion Sebastien Loeb, but is yet to win an event with the car.

Peugeot's withdrawal means Loeb is without a full-time programme for 2019.

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