Lada officially confirms WTCC withdrawal
Russian manufacturer Lada has confirmed its involvement in the World Touring Car Championship will end with the conclusion of the 2016 season.
After news broke earlier this month that Lada would be calling time on its WTCC programme, the marque officially announced its withdrawal during the Russian Motorsport Forum at the Moscow Raceway track.
Alexander Bredikhin, the marketing director of Lada's parent company AvtoVAZ, said that the WTCC programme had completed its goals of brand promotion for the marque and was thus coming to an end.
Instead, Lada will now focus on programmes in Russia's national touring car series RCRS and rallying.
The exit of the Russian brand, which had won four races during its WTCC tenure, currently leaves the series with two works teams - Honda and Volvo.
Lada's works trio Gabriele Tarquini, Hugo Valente and Nicky Catsburg all find themselves without a drive in 2017.
Responding to the news of Lada's exit, Francois Ribero, Head of WTCC promoter Eurosport Events, said in a statement: "Manufacturers will always come and go in motorsport and the current period is definitely not an easy one for world championships in which car manufacturers are directly involved as factory teams.
"Even though LADA’s domestic market share is holding up with a new range of products, the Russian automotive market has declined by 50 per cent over the last two years.
"The WTCC has certainly helped LADA to transform its image and positioning and we wish to thank them for their long-term support of the championship.
"Eurosport Events and the FIA are working intensively together on the future of the touring car category.
"LADA re-alining its domestic motorsport activities won’t affect our motivation to deliver a great 2017 season which should be very open."
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