Armin Schwarz has announced that he is to retire from World Rally Championship competition at the end of the season.

The Skoda driver, who made his WRC debut back in 1988 on the RAC Rally and has one victory on the 1991 Catalunya Rally, made the announcement on the eve of his home event in Germany where he will make his 115th WRC start.

After a career which has seen him drive for Skoda [in two separate stints], Toyota and Hyundai, the 42-year-old said the time has arrive for him to bring his WRC career to a close.

"With the finale of the current WRC season, my career as a driver competing in the World Rally Championship will come to an end," Schwarz said on his personal website. "From 2006 I would like to set new priorities. I want to have more time for my wife and two kids, I'd like to take on new professional challenges; and I'd like to see the world from a different angle.

"I don't know how many times I've circled the world with the WRC since I joined the highest class of competition at the 1988 RAC Rally. I have lived for this high performance sport - and the sport in return has made my life exciting and interesting. Of course I will stay in rallying, because this is the motorsport I love and it is where I spent more than the last two decades of my life in a most intense way.

"But this is not the time to become nostalgic. I am totally motivated for my home event and the rest of this WRC season and then new challenges in the sport are waiting for me."



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