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Peugeot has announced that it will end its endurance racing programme with immediate effect.

The French manufacturer had been Audi's main rival in sportscar racing, running the variants of its diesel 908 prototype in the Le Mans 24 Hours and associated series since 2007.

"This decision has been taken in the context of a difficult economic environment in Europe," Peugeot said in a statement on Wednesday. "Peugeot has chosen to concentrate resources on its sales performance in 2012."

Le Mans victory in 2009 was Peugeot's greatest success, while last year it won the inaugural Intercontinental Le Mans Cup title ahead of the series' transformation into the World Endurance Championship this year.

The decision to can the programme comes amid declining car sales for the Peugeot group, and will be a major blow to the formative WEC - which had been expected to see a season-long battle between Audi and Peugeot.

Toyota is embarking on a new LMP1 programme but will not contest a full campaign this year, while Porsche's new car will not hit the track until 2014.

I think this is a big shame. As much as I wasn't really a fan of the Peugeot team (preferred Audi), I admired their driver line ups and there ability to take the fight to and beat Audi.

With the inaugural season of the World Endurance Challenge this year I was looking forward to following this closely and thought that over that series of races Peugeot would fair better.

I know Porsche and Toyota are returning to the formula this season, but quite honestly it will take a lot to beat Audi straight out of the box. A real shame for the sport.

For interest there are a couple of shots of the new Toyota in testing here.
On the one hand, I am indeed sad to see this rivalry disappear, but on the other hand, some of the shit Peugeot and their drivers did made my blood boil so good riddance.

For instance, the "accident" at the end of Petit Le Mans last season... that was a sleazy, sleazy fucking move.

I think Toyota, Porsche and Jaguar (and maybe Ferrari too!) will be much better additions as time goes on.
My car's now meaningless.
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