Official: Volkswagen will quit WRC
It may not seem like it, but well over a year has passed since the news of Volkswagen having cheated emission tests came out. The resulting blow VW was dealt was tremendous\: the Group is now faced with paying fines running into billions of dollars, and in times as tough as these, some hard decisions had to be made.So Audi announced its exit from the World Endurance Championship a week ago, and now, Volkswagen has said it will end its highly successful run in the World Rally Championship (WRC) at the end of this season.It may seem like a strange decision, considering VW has won the driver, co-driver and manufacturer titles every year since it joined the competition in 2013. It only wrapped up the 2016 title three days ago, Sebastien Ogier whipping the Polo R WRC to victory at the Rally Wales. But VW doesn't have a choice\: some expenses absolutely have to be cut, and motorsport, as gratifying as it may be, is the relatively easier cull.In a rather long and elaborate statement, Frank Welsch, Member of the Board of Management responsible for Technical Development at Volkswagen, spoke about prioritising product development over motorsport milestones.'The Volkswagen brand is facing enormous challenges. With the upcoming expansion in electrification of our vehicle range we must focus all our efforts on important future technologies. We far exceeded our sporting goals in the WRC, now we are realigning Volkswagen Motorsport and moving the vehicle technology of the future more starkly into focus,' said Welsch.What this means is there will only be four constructors in the WRC next year -- Citroen, M-Sport, Hyundai and debutant Toyota -- and VW's driver line-up -- Ogier, Jari Matti-Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen -- will now have to find themselves a new drive for 2017, for the new Polo R that'd been developed for next season will now be put into the deep freeze.There's one more round left in the 2016 season -- the Rally Australia, starting November 18 -- and that may be the last time we get to see a Volkswagen tearing through a WRC stage... for a while, at least.