Sebastien Ogier is said to be signing up with Toyota next season. File picture: AP Photo/Christian Alminana.

BRUSSELS - Citroën is withdrawing from next year’s world rally championship following the decision of six-time world champion Sébastien Ogier to leave the team.

The French car manufacturer said in a statement on Wednesday that it decided to stop its rally program “due to the absence of a first-class driver available for the 2020 season.”

Ogier had a year left on his contract but quit in the wake of a disappointing season by his standards, winning only three races and finishing third in the world championship behind Thierry Neuville of Belgium and winner Ott Tänak of Estonia.

Citroën CEO Linda Jackson said “we could not imagine the 2020 season without Sebastien” driving for the team.

The 35-year-old Frenchman, who won six straight world titles from 2013-18 and has won 47 races overall, will reportedly sign with Toyota.

This come three weeks after world rally champion Ott Tanak announced, four days after winning the WRC title, that he was leaving Toyota to join rivals Hyundai next season.

The 32-year-old became the first Estonian to win the championship, along with co-driver Martin Jarveoja, in Spain last month with one race to spare.

"We’ve been fighting closely against each other for a number of seasons. They have always had a competitive team and car, so now it will be interesting to see things from the other side," Tanak said on Twitter.

He will link up at Hyundai with Belgian Thierry Neuville, nine-times world champion Sebastien Loeb and Spaniard Dani Sordo.

AP and Reuters