The last couple of weeks have been memorable for motorsport fans, for all the wrong reasons. Honda has announced their intention to pull out of Formula 1 and both Suzuki and Subaru have confirmed that they will not be competing in the World Rally Championship (WRC) in 2009.
This however, is a good news piece, as Citroen has reaffirmed its intention to defend its recently won Manufacturers? and Drivers? World Rally Championship titles in the 2009 season. The French manufacturer has also stated that rallying remains a core activity, helping to build the image of the company and demonstrating its technical competence.
?Citroen has entered in the 2009 FIA World Rally Championship as planned with its two crews, S?bastien Loeb/Daniel Elena and Dani Sordo/Marc Marti driving the Citroen C4 WRC,? says Olivier Quesnel, Citroen Sport Director.
Citroen of course has good reason to fight on in 2009, it?s always easier to justify the enormous cost of competing, when you actually win. In 2008, Citroen driver S?bastien Loeb further extended his lead as the most successful rally driver of all time and broke his own record for the most wins within one season, which now stands at 11.
"Of course we regret that other car makers have decided to withdraw from the competition, but we cannot comment their decisions. We are looking forward to another exciting season and we will try to renew our great results of 2008. Our goals remain the same, winning the World Rally Championship manufacturers? and drivers? titles,? he added.
As with F1, there is a real desire to cut costs for competitors in the WRC. Both Citroen and the organisers of the World Rally Championship have made changes for 2009 aimed at reducing costs and boosting the excitement of the sport. This includes cutting back the number of rounds from 15 in 2008 to 12 in 2009.
The 2009 World Rally Championship season opener gets underway in Ireland on January 28, with the series finishing on 21st October in Wales. In what is great news for Aussie rally fans, the 2009 season will see the WRC return to Australia in September.