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Subaru to withdraw from WRC

Discussion in 'The Pub' at netrider.net.au started by vic, Dec 16, 2008.

  1. The Age - December 16, 2008 - 10:31PM

    Australian world rally championship driver Chris Atkinson will be forced to look for a new manufacturer in 2009 with Subaru pulling out of the sport because of the global financial crisis.

    It will be a bitter pill for Atkinson, who had his best ever WRC season in 2008 with five podiums for fifth place overall in the championship.

    Japan's Fuji Heavy Industries, the maker of Subaru cars, made the announcement on Tuesday.

    "Our business environment has rapidly deteriorated. In order to protect the Subaru brand we were forced to make this decision," Fuji Heavy president Ikuo Mori told a press conference.

    Mori fought back tears as he announced the decision at a press conference, thanking Subaru fans.

    He cited the global economic slump and falling car sales as major reasons.

    The company had already decided to pull out of the rally at the end of 2009 but brought forward the timing due to the severity of the business environment, he said.

    The announcement came a day after Suzuki said it would not compete in the 2009 world rally championship largely because of the present financial crisis.

    Their exit follows the shock withdrawal of Honda from Formula One earlier this month.

    Atkinson, who was contracted to drive for Subaru in 2009, crashed in the final round in Wales last weekend and was airlifted to hospital.

    He was released after it was ascertained he'd only sustained bruising.

    Subaru were thought to be making a play for the 2009 championship with another car, Atkinson's results this year considered impressive given he only started driving his new Impreza midway through the season.
  2. Where will it end?

    Will Netrider have to withdraw from the wacky world of Forums, because Vic and Jason go broke.
  3. only question is, who will be next???
  4. This on top of Suzuki pulling out earlier.

    Not good for Atko.
  5. Watching last weekends WRC round, I was just thinking how Subaru desperately needed a good year in WRC in 2009 if they were to revive the flagging image of the brand...

    Instead, they throw in the towel.

    End of WRX in sight, IMHO. This year's model has been more or less a disaster and now it will be seen as a dud in every respect.

    Not every Suby buyer wants a rally car, but how many people even knew they existed before the WRX?

    On a larger scale, is the sport even viable now? The European makers (especially the French) are in dire trouble, as is Ford. Cutbacks like this are inevitable. A return to a production based formula might make it a bit cheaper, but not much.
  6. Yes, is it economic times? Oil prices? Cars last longer?

    Maybe the car dealers actually need to come up with something new, H2O driven possibly... whatever the technology something needs to be added, sure we have the safest cars now, as they think for themselves, help us steer out of a crash... but the drivetrain still needs to be worked on.

    I've read active torque control is coming in to more common cars, rather than the lambo's... a far better invention than braking each wheel independently to control over/under-steer.

    I've no doubt that the WRX cars have this, but the so-called "rally bred" cars don't use as much technology as they could.

    Where's Mr Stark when you need him ;)
  7. It doesn't feel like a great loss. Atkinson puts his car in a ditch every rally, and Solberg seems to be uncompetitive and hapless in equal measure. The sport hasn't been interesting since Gronholm retired, anyway: Hirvonen can't compete against Loeb, and there are no other consistent/interesting battles.