Peugeot in IRC quit threat over factory teams

by Alasdair Lindsay

Peugeot Sport team boss Olivier Quesnel has warned the French manufacturer will pull out of the IRC completely if Skoda are allowed to enter as a full factory-supported team next season, claiming it is unfair to the other competitors in the series.

“We intend to stay in the IRC but for me IRC is done for the importers and privateers,” said Quesnel. “If next year there is still the Skoda official team as they are this year I won’t stay. It’s impossible for me.”

The two Skodas of Juho Hanninen and Jan Kopecky have been dominant this season – and it least one of the pair has been present on the podium at every IRC round this year.

“I won’t spend my money to say well done to Skoda. I say to [IRC promoter] Eurosport you do what you want but I say to them if there is an official manufacturer then it is finished for me.

“I represent the brand and Peugeot is not there to spend the money to say congratulation to Skoda because I know I can’t win at the end. I’m not interested. It’s impossible. Peugeot UK with Kronos and Peugeot Sport we do only one test a month and Skoda is testing all the time.”

Skoda haven’t been entirely dominant though, after Bruno Magalhaes won the last round at the Azores Rally for Peugeot, but Quesnel insists this changes nothing.

“The result in the Azores does not make a difference. I want the thing to be clear. I don’t like to lose but if everybody is on the same line at the beginning I don’t have any problem.

“Anyway the official programme for Peugeot is endurance. S2000 is only for Peugeot UK, Peugeot Belgium. If you want to race against a factory it’s impossible. We can do it with an official car with factory drivers but we are not there for that.”

M-Sport’s customer program has struggled even more – the privateer Fiesta S2000s have accumulated a mere 23 points for Ford in the Manufacturers Championship, while Skoda has already passsed the 100 point mark.

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