Peugeot will withdraw from the FIA World Rallycross Championship at the end of this year amid an “uncertain” future of the series’ planned switch to electric vehicles, according its CEO.
The French manufacturer, which mounted its first full-factory effort in the series this year that included the launch of an in-house-designed Peugeot 208 WRX Supercar, is set to exit following next month’s season-ending round in South Africa.
It comes following a one-year delay in the planned introduction of EWRX, which had initially been announced for 2020.
According to Peugeot brand CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato, the decision is strictly due to the brand’s electrification strategy and not recent results in WRX, having announced a range of new electric sports cars for 2020.
“Peugeot will concentrate its resources on developing these new [electric] vehicles and has therefore decided to withdraw from the WRX championship at the end of the 2018 season, whose evolution towards electrification is uncertain,” Imparato said in a tweet.
“The uncertainty of a future e-WRX championship is not compatible with the calendar of our electrified offensive, which is starting now! That’s why we are withdrawing from WRX.
“Our decision is structuring and for now we will redeploy our resources to serve our customers by developing new high-performance, low-emission sports versions, driven by Peugeot Sport.”
It’s understood Peugeot’s primary reason for entering WRX was for its future electric championship, which has been put on hold until 2021.
The FIA and series promoter IMG had failed to secure a minimum commitment from four manufacturers to green-light EWRX for 2020, with only Peugeot and Volkswagen understood to have been firmly on-board with the concept, which had also seen interest from Ford.
Peugeot’s withdrawal comes on the heels of Audi scaling back factory involvement from Mattias Ekstrom’s EKS team, with the German manufacturer instead focusing its electrified efforts exclusively in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship.