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GP Week : Issue 153
GPWEEK: Coming to a company that has won a hat-trick of recent Dakar wins from a strong Ford background,, how can you hope to be as impressive at this new job? JOST CAPITO: It is a very different situation. At Ford, the team had been there for 25 years or so. There was nothing to build up. Here we are building something up from scratch in WRC – different events, different structures, quite a big challenge. I hope the result will be the same! I know that a team is only as good as the people in it. I and the team have to work together. I have already been impressed by the overall status, how well disciplined, how well organised, about the talent of the people, how the people communicate and work together. What is the latest position about the WRC programme? We are committed to a three-year programme, 2013-2015. We are happy to have Sebastien Ogier already on board, one of the most talented drivers around, and also to have him during the development process of the car. We can take our time regarding choosing the second driver. We are pretty open at this time but we want a driver who is capable of winning rallies. Regarding the idea of a third car for a younger driver, that is still an option. Our main work will be the top two cars, that is what we are expecting. We are still looking at the possibility of a third car. Is VW concerned that the WRC does not currently have a Promoter? At the moment it is not a problem for us because VW is not now in WRC. If we are in the same situation next year it will be a problem. The manufacturers, including VW, are working very hard with the FIA to find a proper solution. At the moment the WRC is definitely not getting enough TV coverage and we are working with other manufacturers and the FIA to find a solution. We are very optimistic that a solution will be found. We understand the FIA are making progress. The most important thing however is that a Promoter is found who is really concerned with the core interests of the WRC and comes up with a strategy how to develop it. We are confident that will be the case. At what point is the development of the WRC car? We have a test in Spain next week and we will then know more! The car looks pretty good standing in the workshop! The plan is not to enter a rally with the car this year. We cannot predict at this time if the car will be competitive with the other cars. We do not expect too much, and it is not important to be quick out of the box. We have a development strategy to bring the car up to speed and to be capable at the end of the first year of a podium position. You spoke about your approval of competition customer programmes generally. Does this include development of rally cars, for example R2 and R5? I am very supportive of customer and grass roots sport which VW already has in place with one-make racing not only in Europe but also in places like China. That is what I am focussing on now. On the rally side this is something we will look into. With the brand VW coming to the WRC, we definitely must have thoughts about developing grass roots in rallying. What is your feeling about the opportunities offered by Global engines in the sport? When I was at Ford, we were pushing for the 1.6 litre direct injection turbo engine as the right thing to do for environmental issues, to downsize and to keep emission low and it is a great step to see these engines now in WTCC and WRC. I am sure this engine will continue to make its way as many manufacturers now have this kind of technology. I see a bright future for that regulation. Has the new trend towards longer rallies changed VW’s technical approach to the sport? Is VW prepared for the increased expense? The format of rallies is still in discussion, but I do not see an increase in length for all the rallies, because you need a lot more local official approvals before you can run longer rallies. Not every rally is in the position of running longer rallies. And most of the components on the rally cars now have to last a couple of rallies, and there is no plan to start increasing the lengths of rallies by more than two times. I do not see major issues. Kris Nissen spoke about a three year plan in which it would only be on the third year when VW will be able to fight for the championship. Are you more ambitious? There are two different things. My ambitions are one thing, the other thing is what is realistic. We are coming from a situation in which the team has been used to working on one particular event, and the need to focus just on that. You need a completely different structure when you come to a championship with 10-13 events round the world and the car is coming from scratch. I am aware that other manufacturers have a huge experience of detailed championship life. I cannot expect a car straight out of a box built by a completely new team, a team used to different category of motorsport, to come and be immediately hugely competitive. About results, I am never happy. I like to win very much, and even more I hate to lose. 5 MINUTES WITH JOST CAPITO A week after joining VW, the new motorsport chief – who ran Ford ’s European motorsport during their two best WRC years – spoke with the media. MARTIN HOLMES was there 5 MINUTES 18 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: