Lada is set to call time on its WTCC programme after five years, as the manufacturer will reportedly pull out of the championship at the conclusion of the 2016 season.

According to reports in the Russian media, the about-turn in Lada's commitment to the championship is due to a change in the Russian marque's global strategy, which will instead focus on homegrown championships, like the Russian Racing Championship.

Lada's withdrawal leaves Honda and Volvo as the only two manufacturers competing in the series next year, with Citroen leaving at the end of this year to return full-time to the World Rally Championship.

An official announcement from the team confirming the departure is not expected until November 10, a Lada Sport insider has told Motorsport.com.

Russian automobile company AvtoVAZ, which owns the Lada brand, declined to comment when approached by Motorsport.com.

Driver situation

Lada's decision means Nicky Catsburg, Gabriele Tarquini and Hugo Valente are all set to be out of a drive following November's Qatar finale.

And with just Volvo and Honda remaining as factory entries, there are few, if not zero opportunities left available for the trio, with Lada's impending decision arriving so late in the season.

"I have heard the rumours but as yet I have no 'official' confirmation from the team," said Catsburg when reached out to for a comment.

"If it's true, I am obviously very disappointed, having committed to Lada for 2017, so I guess I will be looking for an alternative drive."

Tarquini, who signed for Lada this year after being dropped by Honda at the end of 2015, now looks almost set for involuntary retirement for the second year running, with a return to Honda not on the table, and a seat at Volvo unlikely.

Valente, who was thrown a last-minute lifeline to remain in the WTCC by Lada this year following Rob Huff's departure, could be forced to look back at the TCR International Series, where he was set to drive for Craft-Bamboo Racing.

Neil Hudson / TouringCarTimes

Source: Motorsport.com

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