Ford of Europe has announced its withdrawal from the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) at the end of this year's 2012 season, after 16 seasons partnering with UK-based Malcolm Wilson Motorsport (M-Sport).
Ford's decision to leave the sport comes as a result of a review of its European business and the current difficult economic environment, mirroring Mini’s recent WRC exit after only one season in the on- and off-road spectacle.
Ford of Europe vice president of marketing, sales and service Roelant de Waard, said given Ford’s long and proud history in WRC, the decision to pull out was not an easy one.
“At this time, however, we determined that it was better for the company and the Ford brand to reduce our commitment to the WRC and deploy our resources in other areas.”
Ford says its long-time rallying partner, M-Sport, plans to continue competing in the rally championship with its Ford Fiesta, despite the factory support ceasing.
M-Sport managing director Malcolm Wilson thanked Ford of Europe for its support and the faith over their 16 seasons together saying, “We understand that tough decisions have had to be made and look forward to continuing our strong technical partnership into the future.”