First came news earlier this week of Suzuki pulling out of the World Rally Championship (WRC), and now comes even worse news from the rally world. Subaru, the company that built its name and reputation on the rally circuit, has announced it is officially pulling its factory team out of the WRC, effective immediately.
Like many companies, Subaru points to the global economic crisis as to why it is pulling out of the sport that made Subaru the company it is today. Subaru’s famed "asymmetrical all wheel drive" system was perfectly suited for the low grip demands of a rally race. When most people think of Subaru’s racing, they think of a blue rally car flying through the air.
As a consequence of this decision, Prodrive, a British racing consultancy firm that has operated the Subaru WRC team for more than 20 years, is out of a partner for next season. I doubt they will have a hard time finding a manufacturer to work with. Prodrive has been, and still is, one of the most respected racing teams in the business.
Still, for a rally fan like myself, the thought of not watching a blue and yellow Subaru racing against the Mitsubishi Evo’s and Citroen’s is a sad one. I’ve always liked Subaru. They have always made a good car, and ask any mechanic in the know and he’ll tell you that these cars are more reliable than Honda’s. Subaru deserves to be able to race in the sport they helped build. Hopefully the situation for the company will change so that they can return to the world they left behind, the world of rally racing.
Subaru plus rally racing equals airtime! It’s a shame. They need to come back.
Photo: Subaru Tecnica International (STI)