Peugeot will increase its involvement in next year’s FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster with brand ambassador, Sebastien Loeb. Meanwhile, Ford and the Hoonigan Racing Division will no longer continue its World RX programme due to a change in company strategy.
Next year will mark the fifth consecutive season that Peugeot has been involved in the World Championship with the Peugeot 208 WRX Supercar. The French manufacturer won the World RX Teams’ Championship in 2015 and was vice-champion in 2016. With one round of the 2017 season remaining in Cape Town, South Africa, Team Peugeot-Hansen is currently second in the Teams’ Championship.
The announcement made by Peugeot said: “The Peugeot 208’s presence is fully justified in a spectacular and telegenic championship that offers international visibility to the Peugeot Sport team’s know-how. World RX’s global ambitions are in line with Peugeot’s business growth plan outside Europe.”
Peugeot brand’s Chief Executive Officer, Jean-Philippe Imparato, said: “The goal of the 2018 season will be to win the title. To this end, we are strengthening the developments initiated by Peugeot Sport and studying the sports management system implemented by the Hansen family since 2014.”
As Peugeot strengthens its ties with World RX, Ford announced that Hoonigan Racing Division will not compete in 2018. Dave Pericak, Global Director of Ford Performance, explained: “Although we have enjoyed competing in the exciting FIA World Rallycross Championship, it’s a natural time for us to take a break as the future of the series takes shape… rest assured, we remain absolutely committed to hot hatches and all things performance and think rallycross has a bright future.”
Paul Bellamy, World RX Managing Director for IMG, concluded: “We are delighted that Peugeot and Sebastien Loeb will increase its involvement in World RX next season although we were disappointed to hear the news that Ford will withdraw from 2018 due to a change in company strategy. We wish Ken and his Hoonigan Racing Division Team all the best for the future and thank them for their participation – we look forward to working them again at some point in the future. The World Championship is on a very exciting trajectory with new events in new territories planned over the next 24 months. We are fully engaged with current and prospective competitors regarding our vision for the future of the championship with the FIA and manufacturers on the introduction of electric cars which will not happen before 2020. We are speaking to a variety of new teams, manufacturers and venues who are interested in entering the World Championship from next season and are very excited about the future of our series.”