Abarth team principal Nic Gullino has left the Turin-based squad after what has been one of the team's worst seasons in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.
Abarth has contested the IRC from the start, winning both the drivers' and manufacturers' titles in the 2006 pilot series. But since then, the wins from the Grande Punto S2000 have slowed down. In 2007, the team won four rallies but not titles, last year the car won twice and this season Giandomenico Basso's Rally Madeira success was the only victory.
The team has not commented on who will replace Gullino at the head of Abarth. A source within the team said: "This is not really a surprise to anybody. It's been a hard season for us this year, we didn't win so many rallies that we wanted to win."
Abarth has been comprehensively outpaced by both the Peugeot and Skoda this year – with the all-new Proton also setting quicker stage times on some events.
Abarth is not contesting next week's Rally of Scotland after Peugeot and Kris Meeke won the championships on the previous round in Italy. British Rally Champion Keith Cronin will drive an Abarth-supplied Punto on the Stirling-based event, however.
Outside of the IRC, Basso did collect his second FIA European Rally Championship title this season.
No decisions have been made on the future direction of the Abarth team, but it is known to have some of its drivers – Anton Alen included – under contract for 2010.