German automotive giant Volkswagen has decided to quit the World Rally Championship (WRC) in what is the latest Volkswagen group cull post the dieselgate scandal.
This is the second major championship that VW or one of the carmakers it owns has dismantled one of its successful motorsports programs in the past week. Seven days ago on October 26, VW owned Audi announced that it was quitting the World Endurance Championship.
Volkswagen's current stint in the World Rally Championship has been its mos successful ever, as it picked every championship in the top flight WRC program (4 driver's, 4 co-driver's and 4 manufacturer's titles) in the past four years.
VW wrapped up its latest championship wins just a few days ago during the penultimate round of WRC 2016, in Wales.
Volkswagen has won 42 of the 51 rallies it entered in the past four years and it will have on last shot at claiming one final win in the WRC when the 2016 season concludes in Australia later this month.
Volkswagen has stated that it will guarantee all employees jobs in the company post the WRC-exit, however, the drivers and co-drivers are all expected to leave VW and stick with WRC including the team of now four-time defending champions Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia.
The teams of Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila and Andreas Mikkelsen / Anders Jæger are also expected to be poached by other rival WRC teams.
Volkswwagen will not be quitting the WRC entirly though and will keep on developing a new car that will comply the WRC's R5 regulations. The Polo R5 car will made available to customer teams in 2018.
Speaking on the decision to quit WRC, VW board member Frank Welsch told company employees, "The Volkswagen brand is facing enormous challenges. With the upcoming expansion in electrification of our vehicle range we must focus all our efforts on important future technologies."
"We far exceeded our sporting goals in the WRC, now we are realigning Volkswagen Motorsport and moving the vehicle technology of the future more starkly into focus. At the same time, Volkswagen is going to focus more on customer racing. As well as the Golf GTI TCR on the circuit track and the Beetle GRC in rallycross, we also want to offer customers top products and will develop a new Polo according to R5 regulations." Welsch added.