CAPITO FEARS OGIER COULD RETIRE
Volkswagen team principal Jost Capito fears a decision to force the World Rally Championship leader to run at the front of the field on every stage next season could force Sebastien Ogier into retirement.
WRC Promoter and the teams met in Munich last week in an effort to finalise a solution for possible new running order regulations next season. While the meeting didn’t deliver one specific plan to take forward to WRC Commission for debate with the FIA, it unified the need for change.
FIA rally director Jarmo Mahonen had stated the championship leader could run at the front of the field for three days – one more than this season’s regulations.
Capito is confident a recent softening of the view of the governing body will bring respite for Ogier in 2017.
Ogier has always steered clear of a direct answer to the question of what he would do if the championship leader had to run at the front for the duration of a WRC round. Asked the same question, Capito replied: “I think he might retire. You would have to ask him, but as I know him I think he would retire. And maybe that would not be so bad for some… But I don’t think it will happen, so I don’t think about this. Seb is OK that this is the way it is this year and he goes for it this year and it will change next year.”
Following the Munich meeting, however, Capito said he was optimistic of change to make life easier for the championship leader.
“We all agree what we have now is wrong,” said Capito. “But we are not agreed on the common way forward, there are lot of options to discuss in [WRC] Commission. I won’t tell you my preferred way forward, but anything and everything is better than what we have now. I think there has been a softening in the [FIA] view.”