looking at wrc.com it appears skoda is not totally committed either for 04. the wrc appears to be as troubled as prorally. maybe its not the sanctioning bodies. perhaps rally is selfdestructive in its very nature? i sure hope not!
My uneducated opinion is it comes down to rules. We like to add rules to everything to make it fair but racing isn't fair. When I started watching in the 70's it was a bunch of guys in modified street cars. Now the cars are works of art all designed to be even. It costs a lot to be even. If you want it cheap, make everything showroom stock, no modifcations and let the winner win. stuart.
The economy still sucks, especially for automobile manufacturers which hurts the factory teams. You have to sell a lot of cars to make up for even $30-40 million to run a rally team.
Other big sponsors are also hurting and if they aren't gettin ROI on their sticker space then it will be tight next year. At the same time they're increasing the number of events which has to be hard, especially on teams which had already reduced their number of drivers to two.
If Skoda and Ford join Hyundai on the sidelines then it won't be much of a series.
Skoda says it has only two options.
Either retire from WRC for 2004 or run only limited (max. 10) events for 2004.
If Skoda should decide on limited events, all the non European venues will be avoided.
Also, Didier Auriol's future with the carmaker is probably ending.
Toni Gardemeister and Jan Kopecky are listed as the hot candidates.
Cost rises force Skoda out of WRC
November 6, 2003
Skoda Motorsport personnel today confirmed that the team would not register for the World Rally Championship next year, and would run a limited programme of European WRC rounds.
In an interview in the Czech newspaper "Sport" yesterday the Chairman of the company, Mr Kulhanek is reported as saying that the team would only contest ten European rounds.
Speaking at the Wales Rally GB shakedown, Skoda Team Manager Pavel Janeba said the programme was yet to be confirmed and cited rising costs of next years series as the reason for the cut-back. "It's the regulations, it's the number of rallies, it will be too expensive," he said. "It will definitely cost more next year."
He confirmed that the team would concentrate on European rounds of the series. Without a Championship registration Skoda will not be able to homologate a new car, and it is thought that they will concentrate on development of the present model. No decisions have been taken concerning the driver line-up.
I cant beleive this! now Skoda too?!!? words cannot describe how ridiculous the situation with the WRC has become. What a joke
Bummer there being no VWs in WRC at all -- Skoda is a VW subsidiary. SEAT (spanish VW) got out a few years ago. VWAG is in the unenviable position of having spent a bunch of money on arthouse factories and a dull thud of an expensive product (the Phaeton). Their marketing has totally missed the core US enthusiast market. Their most successful racing effort the last couple of years has been with the Audi prototypes and touring cars. Touring cars are a good thing to be involved with, but other than that they've been kinda AWOL in motorsports.
One would think an R32 Golf, with a punched out, unrestricted normally aspirated six and a functional center diff would do pretty well in the US Open class.