Citroen picks WRC over WTCC from 2017, to miss '16 WRC season

Citroen will withdraw from next year's World Rally Championship, taking a season out to develop its all-new 2017 World Rally Car

Citroen picks WRC over WTCC from 2017, to miss '16 WRC season

The Versailles team's decision confirms its long-term commitment to the World Rally Championship, with an extended WRC programme starting from 2017 at the expense of its World Touring Car Championship programme.

Ostberg leaves, Meeke could stay for partial programme

Autosport broke news in the summer that the French firm would opt out of either WRC or the WTCC from 2017 onwards, with rallying preferred long-term.

Citroen will remain in the WTCC next season with Jose Maria Lopez and Yvan Muller.

Sebastien Loeb will depart, bound for Peugeot Sport and a Dakar programme.

Linda Jackson, chief executive officer of the Citroen brand said: "Rallying is a fascinating sport, which tests the performance, reliability and solidity of the cars and drivers in some magnificent settings.

"The category is taking off again, with increasingly widespread live television coverage and the arrival of China on the calendar in 2016.

"In 2017, the appearance of a new generation of cars, which are purported to be very attractive, will coincide with our renewed involvement.

"Everything will therefore be in place for us to write a new chapter in our history. Given the brand's rich heritage, this challenge had to be ambitious.

"We will however be modest in our approach, gradually stepping up our objectives to the very top."

Team principal Yves Matton added: "We have never hidden our interest in the 2017 WRC regulations and the entire team is extremely motivated by this new challenge.

"We like the freedom granted to make the cars more spectacular, but also the possibility of reusing development work done on the C-Elysee WTCC's engine.

"With a view to managing our resources efficiently, we have decided to focus all our efforts on designing and developing our new World Rally Car.

"This is why Citroen will not be competing in the 2016 World Rally Championship as a works team.

"We will obviously be keeping a close eye on the WRC, both with the organisation of the FIA Junior WRC and with the WRC2 programme for Quentin Gilbert, this year's JWRC Champion."

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Citroen could cut its 2016 WRC programme to as little as six events

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