Fans favourite Francois Delecour will not contest the upcoming Rallye de France Alsace (3-5 October). The Frenchman was due to drive a Porsche 997 GT3.
The four-time WRC rally winner was planning to tackle his home event in the same car that Briton Richard Tuthill used to light up the stages at August’s Rallye Deutschland.
But Tuthill’s British team has told WRC.com that it’s plans have now changed and it is unable to field a car for Delecour at the 11th round of the FIA World Rally Championship.
Despite Delecour’s withdrawal, a record 95 crews are expected to take the start of Rally de France – including 15 WR Cars.
As well as the usual factory entries from Citroen, Hyundai, M-Sport and VW, there will be a raft of privateers looking to impress on French soil.
Robert Kubica, Martin Prokop, Dutchman Dennis Kuipers, WRC 2 regular Yuriy Protasov and reigning French champion Julien Maurin will all drive Ford Fiesta RS WRCs. Henning Solberg was named on the most recent entry list but M-Sport has since told WRC.com that he will no longer be competing.
Nine drivers will do battle in the WRC 2 category, but the final rally result will not affect the race for the overall series title as all of the drivers in the top-six of the current standings have elected to miss the event. Pontus Tidemand is the highest seed in his Ford Fiesta R5.
Runaway championship leader Stephane Lefebvre starts as the favourite in the WRC 3 category. But he’ll have to be on his best form if he’s to beat 11 other drivers in matching Citroen DS3 R3s and take maximum FIA Junior World Rally Championship points.