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On the eve of the new decade, the Australian Rally Championship has received a major body blow, with Subaru announcing their withdrawal from the series after four years. After a 10-year reign in the ARC in the 1990s and 2000s, Subaru returned to the sport in 2016, immediately winning the title in a WRX STi with Molly Taylor at the wheel. The following years weren’t as easy though, with more nimble, and lightweight AP4 and R5 cars making in more difficult for the manufacturer to make its mark. “After four years of participation under the Subaru do Motorsport banner, the brand has curtailed its domestic rally program while it refocuses its performance car marketing in other areas for the foreseeable future,” Subaru confirmed today. “The team distinguished itself with a win in the 2016 Championship that made history with driver Molly Taylor becoming the youngest ever (at the time) and first female champion. “The 2016-18 seasons were conducted in partnership with Les Walkden Rallying, while Orange Motorsport was the provider in 2019.”

The ARC will be much poorer without Subaru's presence in 2020. Photo: Luke Whitten

Orange Motorsport boss, Craig Brooks, told RallySport Magazine that it was sad news.
“It’s sad, but from a commercial aspect I get it. Everyone must maintain a sense of commercial reality,” Brooks said.
“I don't really know what next year looks like yet, but we will see what presents itself. I may take the opportunity to focus on to my own business.” Like Les Walkden before him, Brooks says he put his ‘heart and soul’ into the program and enjoyed every moment of it, admitted it had taken more time and energy than he had expected. As for Molly Taylor, her future in Australian rallying is still unknown. She’ll be retained as a Subaru brand Ambassador and will participate in a variety of events, including customer promotions, drive days, dealer network and staff functions, but any rally plans for 2020 are still up in the air.
"It's certainly not the news we were hoping for," Taylor said.
"I'm working on what options are out there, but don’t have any news on that side for now. It's really too early to know the likelihood of what next year holds," she added.

RSM Comment:

https://rallysportmag.com/comment-subaru-contribution-not-to-be-overlooked    
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