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Pirelli will pull out of the World Rally Championship at the end of the 2006 season, but Pirelli's Paul Hembrey says the decision has nothing to do with the tyre manufacturer's lack of success in this year's WRC.

"It's a marketing decision," Hembrey told the British magazine, Autosport. "As it stands, we're not getting a return on our investment in the world championship. The results have nothing to do with it: you have to take the rough with the smooth in this sport. It's to do with the loss of Peugeot and Mitsubishi as manufacturers and Michelin as a competing tyre.

"Last year everybody remembers it as the year of Sebastien Loeb but we won five rallies and got good return and exposure from that. This year there are six cars in the WRC and if Petter Solberg has a problem we're buggered. Pirelli and Michelin have fought in the WRC, but from next season the championship will have neither."

Michelin rebranded their tyres with the name of sister company BF Goodrich this season, and supply five of the six WRC teams. Subaru are the only current team which Pirelli supports.

But Pirelli may not be lost for good. It is believed that they will tender for the WRC tyre contract when the WRC moves to a single tyre supplier in 2008.
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