Peugeot and Citroen to quit

French car manufacturers Peugeot and Citroen will both withdraw from the World Rally Championship at the end of 2005, according to a statement from parent company PSA Peugeot Citroen on Thursday

Peugeot and Citroen to quit

PSA blamed tougher conditions in the car market for the decision, which it claims will enable it to significantly cut its sporting budget and allow it to evaluate new projects beyond 2005.

In the statement, PSA indicated that both Citroen Sport and Peugeot Sport will remain fully committed to winning in the WRC next year.

The announcement came just 48 hours after Ford made it clear that it would remain in the WRC for at least four more years. It means that there are now only two manufacturers (Ford and Subaru) fully committed to the WRC for 2006, with Skoda and Mitsubishi currently only guaranteed for 2005. At least one of them is likely to continue though.

Citroen and Peugeot have won the last three WRC drivers titles and the last five manufacturers' championships, and they represent half of the fulltime factory contingent in this year's championship alongside Ford and Subaru.

Sebastien Loeb last month clinched the world rally championship at the Rallye De France, while his Citroen team-mate Carlos Sainz's third place in the same event was enough to give the marque its second consecutive manufacturers' crown.

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