Yvan Muller calls time on World Touring Car career after 2016
|By Jack Cozens||Thursday, September 22nd 2016, 06:20 GMT|
Four-time World Touring Car champion Yvan Muller has announced he will call time on his career in the series at the end of the 2016 season.
Citroen driver Muller, the 2008, '10, '11 and '13 champion, has raced in the WTCC since '06 and holds all of the series' records.
The Frenchman joined Citroen ahead of the start of its WTCC project in 2014, but has played second fiddle since then to all-conquering team-mate Jose Maria Lopez.
Muller is currently joint-second in the 2016 standings and 120 points behind Lopez, who provisionally clinched a third title in as many years earlier this month in Japan.
But Muller remains the most successful driver in the championship's modern era and has the outright records for wins, pole positions, podiums, fastest laps and points scored.
His first crown with SEAT in 2008 (pictured below) ended Andy Priaulx's run of three titles in the first three years of the revamped WTCC, and he won the rest of his titles during a dominant spell with the Chevrolet team.
Muller, who also won the British Touring Car Championship in 2003, said the demands of competition now exceeded what he was prepared to commit to, and that stepping down from a race seat would allow his family commitments and the running of his racing team to take precedence.
"I am not sure that age is the main factor when it comes to ending a career," said 47-year-old Muller. "It's more a matter of desire and motivation.
"With all the testing, the simulator sessions, the physical training and the travel to the race venues, a season of professional motor racing requires a level of personal commitment that I am no longer prepared to put in.
"At the same time, I am at a time of my life where I want to do something else and I am happy to be able to make that decision after 11 seasons of FIA WTCC.
"I've had some great experiences over my career.
"These three seasons with Citroen Racing have been particularly special, even though I never managed to be world champion driver with this team.
"But I will always be proud of having helped to build our racing programme and develop the Citroen C-Elysee WTCC.
"I have also met some great people who are passionate about their job and have a fierce competitive spirit.
"Driving has been part of my daily life for so long that I can't see myself stopping racing entirely.
"But I am going to spend more time with my family and developing my team, Yvan Muller Racing.
"Before that, though, I am going to put everything I've got into meeting the team's goals."