The team’s star driver Sébastien Ogier placed third in the 2019 championship, behind Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville and first-time WRC champion Ott Tänak. The Franchman grabbed victories in Monte Carlo, Mexico and Turkey with co-driver Julien Ingrassia, but announced in August, however, that he would be retiring from the WRC at the end of the year.
Fellow Citroën WRT driver Esapekka Lappi and co-driver Janne Ferm had a much weaker 2019 season, finishing ahead of the Ogier car on just two occasions, placing tenth in the 2019 championship. In top-level motorsport, such a void does not go unnoticed.
It’s not the first time Citroën Racing hasn’t minced words on Twitter. In May 2018, Kris Meeke was unceremoniously dropped from the team with a tweet that read “Due to an excessively high number of crashes, some of which were particularly heavy, Citroën Racing WRT has decided to terminate the participation of Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle in the 2018 WRC”.
According to Citroën, however, withdrawal from the WRC isn’t the end of motorsport entirely, as “Citroën customer competition activity will be reinforced in 2020, with a support and an amplified commitment towards C3 R5 customers throughout the world”. But still, it’s a crying shame.
Linda Jackson, Citroën’s CEO, 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 the 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 eight manufacturer titles.”