Citroën’s Colin McRae has announced that he will not compete in next year’s championship after 16 years on the World Rally circuit.
Citroën’s Colin McRae has announced after 16 years on the World Rally circuit, that he will not compete in next year’s championship.
The 1995 champion had been trying to secure backing for an independent assault on the WRC after losing his Citroen factory drive, but it now seems likely that he will pursue other motorsport options nest year.
"I'm really looking forward to getting into other forms of motorsport;" he said, "it's something I've always said I wanted to do. Everyone knows there are talks about me competing on The Dakar. That's an event I've always thought about doing. There's potential for a deal there, and also lots of others that would take me into different forms of motorsport."
McRae has also dabbled in car racing over the years and has recently tested a GT class Porsche.
"2004 has the makings of a very interesting year," he said, "and hopefully I'll be in a position to make an announcement about certain things very soon."
McRae said his decision stems from the FIA's WRC rule changes. "There are numerous reasons for not competing in the 2004 WRC and one of the main things is the change in the specific regulation that says each team can only have two registered cars," he said.
"It didn't help that a definite decision wasn't made early enough in the year to give anyone a chance of securing a drive. Because of that, the only option left was to find the funds to pay for a drive and, given the short timescale, it's just almost impossible to pull that kind of money together.
McRae also said he understands Citroen's decision to retain Carlos Sainz rather than him. "At the time Citroen made its decision, Carlos was in a stronger position in the Championship than me, and still is. It also has very strong links with the Spanish market so both of these factors obviously contributed. Had the driver regulations not changed, Citroen had always stated they would keep all three of us; now they can't.
McRae admitted that everything that happened in 2003 also affected his form. "All this, coupled with the fact that it's not been my best year in the sport," he continued, "has meant I've not really enjoyed it. And I've always said that when I don't enjoy it, I would seriously consider stepping back. The results haven't been there and these two things go together; if you're enjoying it, you're competitive. I'm not as competitive as I want to be and this is another reason for pulling out."
The next rally in Wales is now confirmed as Colin McRae's last WRC event in the foreseeable future.
Original article from Car