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Hyundai have dealt the World Rally Championship a blow by revealing they will pull out of the sport at the end of this season.

The Korean manufacturer has struggled so far this season and they languish sixth and last in the standings.

Hyundai have responded to that disappointment by pulling the plug on their World Rally operation, although they intend to return to competition midway through 2006.

Hyundai Europe's director of overseas marketing BH Lee said: "Withdrawing is a painful decision but also a realistic admission that a break is absolutely mandatory for us to reorganise and rethink our entire approach to motorsport.

"But we'll be back in 2006 in fighting form with a completely new engine and car to mount a more credible challenge for the WRC crown."

Hyundai's participation in the rest of this season is also a doubt due to a dispute with Motor Sport Developments, who run their World Rally team.

Lee said: "We'd like to resolve this issue immediately so we can focus on competing in the four rallies left on the 2003 WRC calendar."

Not only is today's news a blow to current drivers Armin Schwarz and Freddy Loix, it also damages Colin McRae's chances of earning a works drive next season after he was dropped by Citroen.

The Scotsman was not keen on stepping down to Hyundai's level but available works seats have rapidly run out for the 1995 world champion and today's decision removes another option for him.

374 Posts

No Hyundai in 2004 WRC
A probable come-back for the Korean constructor in 2006 [17/09/03 - 15:47]

Only a few more rallies left
for the official Hyundai team

Hyundai will not take part in the 2004 World Rally Championship. The Korean team will complete the rallies in 2003 and then it will stop to better prepare a come back in a few years, a little bit like Mitsubishi is doing at the moment.

The lack of results and the numerous reliability problems encountered by Hyundai this season were not very positive for the team. The high-cost of the sport is possibly another element that influenced their decision to leave WRC competition.

There is also a contractual dispute between Hyundai and Milton Keynes-based Motorsport Developments Limited (MSD), the company that prepares the Accent, mostly for private customers. "MSD is in a contractual dispute with Hyundai Motor Corporation and until such time as this dispute is settled, we have decided to send the staff home," confirmed Ellie Storey of MSD. "We hope to have a solution soon."

Philip J. Boer

768 Posts
- Doesn't suprise me at all.....
- Juha Kankkunen jumped this sinking ship after he couldn't get new shocks when he needed them, no testing and the engine was slower than 3-year old Celica GT4
- As you see now, the smartest of all was John Buffum! He went to "eveything-but-a-kitchen-sink" Mitsu-Huynday and was very successful for pennies of the factory team.... Sometimes making rules to fit to your "legal-cheater" is the way to go.
- Proud Koreans wanted to use "their own", wonderful inhouse design 2-liter engine with a 2-meter stroke. Ofcourse, it did not work. So, MSD & Mountune (their engine builder)homologated 86x86 Mitsu (and all others) bore x stroke dimensions and started to see progress but the money was never there to finish the job.
- In Asia, there's is a joke about Korean businessmen but I leave it for that....
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