Subaru maker Fuji Heavy Industries on Tuesday said it would withdraw from the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) at the end of the 2008 season, citing a "dramatically changed" business environment.

Suzuki announced its withdrawal from motorsport yesterday and Honda last week said it would sell its F1 racing team.

"FHI considers it has achieved its original target in WRC participation," Fuji Heavy said in a statement. "However, while considering positioning the WRC activity in Subaru branding strategy towards the future, our business environment has been dramatically changed due to the quick deterioration of the global economy.

"In order to optimise the management resources and to strengthen further the Subaru brand, FHI decided to withdraw from WRC activities at the earliest timing."

FHI has participated in the WRC together with Prodrive, a motorsports and automotive engineering group in the UK, over the past 19 years.

Subaru has won three manufacturer's championship titles and three driver's championship titles in its history of rally racing. FHI said this had helped enhance the value of the Subaru brand as well as expand sales worldwide.

FHI would continue to support teams and drivers that participate in P-WRC or the Group N category, it said.