Fuji Heavy Industries, the maker of Subaru cars, has revealed that Subaru were to pull out of the World Rally Championship at the end of 2009, but had brought forward the decision due to the severity of the business environment, Foxsports.com.au have reported.

"Our business environment has rapidly deteriorated. In order to protect the Subaru brand we were forced to make this decision," Fuji Heavy President Ikuo Mori told a press conference in Japan.

Mori fought back tears as he announced the decision, thanking Subaru fans.

He cited the global economic slump and falling car sales as major reasons.

It is still not known what team drivers, Petter Solberg, and Australian Chris Atkinson, will do next year, and if they will be able to secure drives in the WRC.

Subaru’s decision comes just a day after Suzuki ended their WRC program, leaving only Ford and Citroen in the championship. Given Ford’s economic problems worldwide, many are already predicting that the Blue Oval may follow suit.

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