After Audi announced earlier to focus on DTM and Formula E in 2019 and the recent announcement of Peugeot to withdraw from the FIA World Rallycross Championship today privateer Olsbergs/MSE announced a sabbatical for the 2019 season.
Reasons given for the sabbatical of the former Team’s World champions are the World RX’s projected switch to electric power in 2021 and the current high cost of technical development for the series. In the mean time the team will still offer cars for customer programmes and interested team sponsors in the FIA European Rallycross Championship, Americas Rallycross Championship, RallyX Nordic, RX2 and ARX2 in 2019.
Andréas Eriksson, CEO of Olsbergs/MSE explains: “Today’s decision is of course sad, but we have to do this for the company’s longer-term future as the cost to operate at a competitive level today in World RX is too high for us. As a true manufacturer of Rallycross cars as well as an operator of Rallycross cars all over the world, we encourage everybody involved in this sport to look at the areas of stability and cost reduction in the current Supercar regulations, as well as the affordability and return on investment for running those cars for the next ten years.”
Regarding the switch to electric power in 2012 Eriksson said: “We [Olsbergs/MSE] are also very much looking forward to the arrival of electric rallycross in 2021, and as such will put our efforts next year into securing a manufacturer partner ready for its introduction. We think the electric switch is important for the future of the sport – and for all the young drivers out there dreaming to be the best in the world.”
He concluded with commenting on the many pros and cons on social media and elsewhere. “There are a lot of people and fans out there raising voices both for and against electric Rallycross,” he said. “I personally feel that combustion and electric can work hand-in-hand for many years to come – let’s face it, we all love different kinds of music at different concerts!”