Volkswagen is leaving World Rally Championship at the end of this season

As Audi withdraws from Le Mans, VW does the same in WRC.

Following Audi's decision to leave Le Mans prototype racing, Volkswagen has now decided to end its World Rally Championship program by the end of 2016. According to Autocar who broke the news, Volkswagen Motorsport will still continue to employ its 200 workers at the division focused on building its WRC cars. Volkswagen Motorsport will provide customer teams with its Golf GTI TCR, but crucially, the efforts of updating the factory team Polo WRC for 2017 will go to waste.

There will be no customer program offered for the Polo WRC, says Autocar's source, and everything that has gone into it will be merely considered research and development funds. The decision to end WRC efforts goes in hand with Volkswagen's dieselgate-related problems, as the company shifts its public persona away from fossil fuels into electric vehicles. There's also likely a component of cost-savings.

The departure from WRC comes after a very successful streak, as VW has dominated WRC with four manufacturer and driver championships from 2013 to 2016. There will be one last battle for Volkswagen, the Rally Australia from November 17-20. Volkswagen has won 41 WRC rallies in its time.

Reports say Volkswagen will officially announce its WRC departure on Wednesday. VW's WRC drivers for 2016 have been S├ębastien Ogier, Andreas Mikkelsen, and Jari-Matti Latvala.

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