Once a rumor, now a truth.
Rally fans who were troubled by the rumors yesterday that Subaru was preparing to do the unthinkable and scrap its WRC team will be disappointed to learn that the speculation has proven to be true, as parent company Fuji Heavy Industries has announced it is pulling its participation effective immediately.
Not unlike its fellow Japanese automaker Honda, which has canceled its Formula One program, Fuji Heavy points to cost-cutting measures amidst the current global economic crisis as its reason for canceling its motorsport program. Still, it's a shocking move for the automaker that earned its reputation on the rally circuit, even if they haven't won a single stage since 2005. The move also means that Prodrive, the racing consultancy firm that has operated the Subaru WRC team for over 20 years, will need to find a new partner for next season and beyond as the WRC moves ahead with new regulations. But Prodrive may find the rally circuit a lonely place after Suzuki also canceled its participation, leaving Ford and Citroen as the only manufacturers fielding factory teams in the top level of rallying.