Citroen leaves World Rally Championship and blames Ogier's exit

Citroen Racing has announced it will depart the World Rally Championship with immediate effect - stating Sebastien Ogier's decision to move to Toyota left it with no alternative

Citroen leaves World Rally Championship and blames Ogier's exit

The firm announced its decision on Wednesday, confirming mounting speculation of a withdrawal.

Ogier and team-mate Esapekka Lappi had a year left to run on their contracts, but the six-time world champion's decision to walk away after a difficult season aboard the C3 WRC left Citroen with no lead driver.

A statement from Citroen Racing said: "Citroen decided to withdraw from its WRC programme in 2020 due to the absence of a first-class driver available for 2020 season."

Ogier will be announced as a Toyota driver alongside Elfyn Evans and Kalle Rovanpera next Monday.

For Lappi, the future is less clear. Citroen's announcement seriously reduces the number of seats available in the WRC.

The M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC vacated by Evans is now the only frontline, full-time factory seat remaining in the world championship.

In confirming the decision, Citroen CEO Linda Jackson said: "Our decision to withdraw from WRC programme as early as end of 2019 follows on Sebastien Ogier's choice to leave Citroen Racing.

"We obviously have not wished this situation but we could not imagine 2020 season without Sebastien.

"I would like to thank Citroen Racing team for their passion and commitment.

"A part of Citroen's DNA is intimately linked with the rally and we are proud to be one the most titled brands in WRC history with 102 victories and eight manufacturer titles."

Ogier and Toyota have made no comment on their plans for 2020.

WRC departures are nothing new for Citroen. The famous chevrons first appeared at the top level of the sport with the BX 4TC in 1986 - that car didn't even last a season before Citroen quit.

More recently, the Versailles-based team left the series in 2005 and 2016, but those occasions were to develop a new car for a forthcoming campaign.

This time there will be no quick return for Citroen, with PSA Motorsport already having confirmed to Autosport that Citroen will not be involved in the WRC's 2022 move to hybrid, having already committed to Peugeot's World Endurance Championship entry and Formula E with the group's premium brand DS.

Citroen's first World Rally Car arrived in the WRC in 2001, with a maiden manufacturers' title coming two years later.

The decade that followed was the most successful for any car-crew combination in the series' history, with Sebastien Loeb taking nine straight drivers' titles and Citroen winning eight championships in total.

shares
comments
World Rally star Hayden Paddon to race in TCR
Previous article

World Rally star Hayden Paddon to race in TCR

Next article

Citroen team boss explains full reasons for World Rally 2020 exit

Citroen team boss explains full reasons for World Rally 2020 exit
How team orders could make Hyundai's historic Acropolis Rally a Greek tragedy Plus

How team orders could make Hyundai's historic Acropolis Rally a Greek tragedy

Thierry Neuville led a maiden Hyundai 1-2-3 in the World Rally Championship, as the previously soft i20 N became a battle-hardened Greek warrior at the Acropolis Rally. But with team orders in play between the winner and Hyundai’s title protagonist Ott Tanak, could the result come back to haunt the team?

WRC
Sep 12, 2022
How Tanak triumphed amid a series of Belgium WRC blunders Plus

How Tanak triumphed amid a series of Belgium WRC blunders

After runaway World Rally Championship leader Kalle Rovanpera made his first major mistake of the season, the chance to take advantage was wide open for the chasing pack. Several of his rivals faltered to grasp the opportunity, but Ott Tanak made no such mistake and demonstrated his class with a third win of the campaign

WRC
Aug 22, 2022
Inside Toyota’s new WRC dream factory where rally conquerers come to life Plus

Inside Toyota’s new WRC dream factory where rally conquerers come to life

Toyota locked out the top four places in the World Rally Championship's recent Safari Rally Kenya in a clear indication of its GR Yaris Rally1 hybrid's pace and durability. Autosport was recently given a tour of the new factory where its cars are designed, tested and built, and it reveals much about the commitment of the Japanese marque to continued WRC success

WRC
Aug 19, 2022
How Rovanpera has reignited Finland's rallying obsession Plus

How Rovanpera has reignited Finland's rallying obsession

Finland may have a small population, but it has long enjoyed rallying success. Now that the nation has a new star to cheer in the form of Kalle Rovanpera, interest in the discipline is surging once again

WRC
Aug 10, 2022
How Tanak spoiled Rovanpera’s Finnish homecoming Plus

How Tanak spoiled Rovanpera’s Finnish homecoming

Kalle Rovanpera and Toyota went into Rally Finland as overwhelming favourites but came away as runners-up to a resurgent Ott Tanak and Hyundai. While it may have dampened the homecoming party, it still moved the Finn closer to the ultimate World Rally Championship prize

WRC
Aug 8, 2022
Inside Hyundai’s F1-spec mobile WRC home Plus

Inside Hyundai’s F1-spec mobile WRC home

Hyundai is one of the World Rally Championship's big three, and has a brand-new travelling facility befitting of that status. The team invited Autosport for a behind-the-scenes look at its state-of-the-art HQ, which comes complete with all the bells and whistles you'd expect of a top Formula 1 outfit

WRC
Jul 27, 2022
How Rovanpera's latest Estonia masterclass left his WRC rivals stumped Plus

How Rovanpera's latest Estonia masterclass left his WRC rivals stumped

After trailing Toyota team-mate Elfyn Evans for much of Rally Estonia's opening day, WRC points leader Kalle Rovanpera took advantage of a change in the weather and never looked back afterwards. Winning for a fifth time this year at the scene of his 2021 breakthrough, and with a breathtaking powerstage bonus for good measure, his advantage is already looking difficult to topple

WRC
Jul 18, 2022
How the WRC captures its stunning visuals Plus

How the WRC captures its stunning visuals

Whether it’s the mountains of Monte Carlo, the snow of Sweden or the Kenya Savannah, the World Rally Championship is able to beam some of motorsport’s most spectacular footage to television screens while operating in the harshest of environments. Autosport went behind the scenes to unearth the secrets that make this logistical challenge possible

WRC
Jul 7, 2022