Citroën Racing ends World Rally Championship programme with immediate effect
The team have said Sébastien Ogier's departure left them with no choice
Citroën Racing will not compete in the 2020 World Rally Championship season after confirming their departure from the series today.
The tweet announcing the team's withdrawal cited six-time WRC champion Sébastien Ogier's as yet unconfirmed move to Toyota as the reason for leaving, with "the absence of a first-class driver" available for next year.
On previous occasions where the French manufacturer has left the series – in 2005 and 2016 respectively – a new car was in development for the following season.
This time around, there is no sign of a return as the Versailles-based squad has already confirmed it would not be involved in the hybrid era of the WRC from 2022.
This, coupled with the fact that the PSA (Citroën's parent company) is committed to DS' Formula E programme as well as Peugeot's recently-announced return to top-tier endurance racing means that the squad will be unlikely to return any time soon.
The move ends an incredibly successful stint in the series, with a total of eight championships in the decade after they arrived in 2001, with Sebastien Loeb becoming the most successful rally driver ever with nine straight titles.
Citroen CEO Linda Jackson said: "Our decision to withdraw from WRC programme as early as end of 2019 follows on Sébastien Ogier’s choice to leave Citroën Racing. We obviously have not wished this situation but we could not imagine 2020 season without Sébastien.
"I would like to thank Citroën Racing team for their passion and commitment. A part of Citroën’s DNA is intimately linked with the rally and we are proud to be one the most titled brands in WRC History with 102 victories and 8 manufacturer titles."