The World Rally Championship is one of the most-watched motorsports events…in Europe. Once upon a time, the WRC featured racers and manufacturers from across the globe, and it was a constant back-and-forth between teams like Subaru, Ford, and MINI. But the past ten years has been absolutely dominated by Citroen and driver Sebastien Loeb…and some automakers have about had it.
Autosport reports that Ford is withdrawing factory support from the 2013 World Rally Championship due to a variety of factors. This comes on the heels of MINI also pulling its factory team from the WRC, and several years after Subaru also withdrew their support. So…who is left?
First off, Ford does have legitimate reasons for pulling out of the WRC, chief among them the fact that the Blue Oval is slated to lose over $1 billion in its European operations this quarter. The European car market has tanked, and Ford is hemorrhaging money. Investing millions of dollars into supporting a rally team that hasn’t won either a driver’s or manufacturer’s championship since 2007 is just throwing good money after bad. Where is the benefit if you’re just not competitive?
That doesn’t mean there won’t be Fords competing in the WRC; the M-Sport organization plans to keep fielding Fiesta WRC cars. But without factory support, and against the seemingly unbeatable duo of Citroen and Loeb, M-Sport certainly has its work cut out for them. But hey, at least Ford is sticking with Formula Drift, right?