Reigning MSA British Rallycross champion Dan Rooke will not defend his title in 2017 and instead take a forced sabbatical as he focuses on his future in the sport.
Rooke who is the youngest ever winner of the biggest prize in British Rallycross was planning to compete in the championship this season but will now sit out 2017 due to budget restrictions.
The 19 year-old was gutted about the decision and said: “I had an amazing year last year and in a way it’s still unbelievable what we achieved, especially considering that we’re just a small family team from Devon. But the reality is that we’ve been struggling to raise the budget for another full season in Supercar at this stage.”
He added: “Because we won the championship in such as strong way last year, we don’t feel it would be beneficial to my career to enter into the defence of the title and not be in a position to fight for wins and the championship. Thanks to my great sponsors we have raised about half of the budget required but not enough to commit properly.”
Rooke stormed to the BRX Supercar title at his first attempt in 2016 driving a LD Motorpsorts prepared Citroen DS3 but did admit: “My goals haven’t changed. I still really want to progress in this sport and climb through the ranks into the World Championship. I’m going to work harder than ever this year to build my experience in the sport.”
His 2016 campaign also featured a one-off appearance in the international RX Lites Cup at Lydden Hill where he drove a Ford Fiesta.