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Estonia's Martin announces retirement from World Championship

Estonia's Markko Martin has announced his retirement from the world rally championship, local media has reported.

"Over the last 12 years I have gained much experience from the rally, now I need something new," the Eesti Paevaleht newspaper quoted Martin as saying.

Martin, 30, was left without a seat for the 2006 championship when Peugeot withdrew from the competition at the end of season.

The Estonian, finished fifth in last year's drivers' championship after pulling out of the final three rounds following the death of his British co-driver Michael Park in a crash during September's Rally of Britain.

Martin added that Park's death was not the reason he was quitting and rally driving would remain a hobby. He refused to rule out a return to the World Championship but said it was unlikely.

"Never say never, but at present I don't see this as a possibility," the newspaper reported.

Martin won five rallies in total and had a best finish of third in the drivers' standings in 2004.

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