CAPITO ON VW’S FU­TURE WITH­OUT HIM

Motor Sport News - - Headline News - Pho­tos: mck­lein-im­age­database.com

Volk­swa­gen’s Jost Capito says he will leave the Ger­man team in the best pos­si­ble po­si­tion to con­tinue its dom­i­nance of the World Rally Cham­pi­onship.

Capito signs off on his suc­cess at the top of the World Rally Cham­pi­onship this af­ter­noon (Wed­nes­day) be­fore start­ing as chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer at the Wok­ing For­mula 1 team on Thurs­day morn­ing.

Un­der his com­mand the Polo R WRC has won 39 times in 48 world cham­pi­onship starts since ar­riv­ing in 2013 and both Se­bastien Ogier and Volk­swa­gen are well on their way to fourth con­sec­u­tive ti­tles this sea­son.

To­day all is good. To­mor­row, the World Rally Cham­pi­onship is a poorer place.

Jost’s gone. Gone to Wok­ing. Gone to For­mula 1. As you can see else­where on this page, Capito leaves his mark on the WRC – and it’ll be fas­ci­nat­ing to see what kind of an im­pres­sion he can make on Mclaren in the com­ing months.

I will miss Jost. Not only has he been the most suc­cess­ful team principal in the his­tory of the World Rally Cham­pi­onship, he’s been a man with an opinion about the service park and that’s an in­creas­ingly rare thing these days.

I know not all of you agreed with him (I know I didn’t all of the time), but few, if any, spent as much time think­ing about the best way for­ward for our sport.

Re­mem­ber the whole Sun­day rev­o­lu­tion? The idea of di­vid­ing times by 10 to give a real, tenth-ofa-sec­ond thriller of a pow­er­stage? All Jost’s idea. Fine, so lots of you didn’t like it. But tell me: how many team prin­ci­pals in global mo­tor­sport have such pas­sion and vi­sion for their field that they spend time for­mu­lat­ing and pitch­ing an idea to the se­ries pro­moter?

Few will know the work Capito has com­pleted be­hind the scenes in an ef­fort to drive our sport for­ward. His fer­vor for the sport to find the right path is matched only by his de­ter­mi­na­tion for that path to be forged on a level play­ing field. Last week he took to these pages to ex­plain him­self on the whole Kris Meeke story. Again, how many men in such a lofty po­si­tion would have cared suf­fi­ciently to do that?

Fun­da­men­tally, Capito is one of us. Al­ways has been. His love for the sport hasn’t changed from the moment he fired up a mo­tor­bike to com­pete for the first time as a child to the time he switched off his Du­cati for the fi­nal time in Ger­many ear­lier this month, hav­ing just re­turned from rid­ing out to watch his cars among the fans for the fi­nal time.

It was that de­sire to de­liver what pun­ters want to watch – al­lied to an ab­so­lute de­ter­mi­na­tion not to have Volk­swa­gen’s com­pet­i­tive­ness com­pro­mised – that main­tained a three-car pres­ence in the World Rally Cham­pi­onship, post-diesel­gate.

Volk­swa­gen, like its Group coun­ter­parts Audi and Porsche, was told it had to cut its bud­get by one third. Audi and Porsche went route one, los­ing a car each for this year’s Le Mans. Capito was hav­ing none of it. In­stead, he cut one of the team’s enor­mous hos­pi­tal­ity units and pitched the team – driv­ers and co-driv­ers in­cluded – into the same space as the media and cor­po­rate guests.

“Fans have one third less from Audi and Porsche,” said Capito. “I did not want that for our fans.”

Quite how such zeal will play out in a world driven so firmly by com­mer­cial re­al­ity re­mains to be seen.

Would it be hope­lessly naïve to ask Jost to stay true to him­self? Prob­a­bly. But I’ll do it any­way.

Good luck, my friend.

Bri­tish Rally Cham­pi­onship driver Rhys Yates will cap off his sec­ond full sea­son of ral­ly­ing with a first run in the World Cham­pi­onship on Wales Rally GB in his Ford Fi­esta R5.

The Ch­ester­field driver won the MSA English Rally Cham­pi­onship and the BTRDA Class B10 ti­tle in his first full sea­son of ral­ly­ing in a Ford Fi­esta R2 in 2015.

Now the for­mer mo­tocross rider, who sits ninth in the BRC stand­ings, will take his fam­ily-run op­er­a­tion to Dee­side.

“It’s been a bit of a whirl­wind, start­ing in the BTRDA not even know­ing what pacenotes are to do­ing Rally GB in an R5,” said Yates. “It’s hap­pened quickly.

“We nearly had the op­por­tu­nity to do it last year in the MSL R5, but we

Richard Hys­lop was one of the un­sung back­ground he­roes on which our sport de­pends. He died ear­lier this month. He was 42 years old.

For 20 years he was bet­ter known as ‘Piper 5 Re­cov­ery’, his Land Rover De­fender res­cue unit a sta­ple fix­ture at the ma­jor­ity of Scot­tish ral­lies and race meet­ings.

In March this year he un­der­went a ma­jor trans­plant op­er­a­tion, and was back on duty within weeks. In­deed his last event was the an­nual BTCC round at Knock­hill af­ter which he passed away sud­denly and un­ex­pect­edly due to a blood clot, un­re­lated to his kid­ney trans­plant. More re­cently he was in­volved in the on­go­ing train­ing process for new safety and re­cov­ery crews to en­sure that more vol­un­teers were in­tro­duced to the sport and brought up to stan­dard.

The sport will miss his good hu­mour, de­ter­mi­na­tion and en­thu­si­asm, but none more so than his wife Hazel, daugh­ter Natalie and son Jake, their wider fam­ily and huge cir­cle of friends. Our thoughts are with them.

Capito is head­ing to Mclaren Capito and VW’S first event was 2013 Monte

Yates was im­pres­sive eighth over­all on the Ul­ster Yates (l) and Wood­burn (r) are learn­ing in Bri­tish cham­pi­onship

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