Outgoing Volkswagen boss Jost Capito says he is convinced it is the “right time” for him to go and is confident the team will continue to be successful in 2017, when the new breed of WRC cars come in.
Capito took in his last event at the weekend as VW Motorsport director, with Sebastien Ogier coming through to give the outfit the victory on Rallye Deutschland.
Ahead of his new challenge at McLaren – he was of course appointed as CEO back in January
- he added he is going to miss rallying and feels the last four years have been “more than a dream come true”.
“Today was my last outing at a rally for Volkswagen before I move to my new job in September. That makes it all the sweeter that we have something to celebrate,” Capito said. “I have to thank Seb and Julien [Ingrassia] for delivering on their promise [and giving me a winning send-off]. Really good and nice of them.
"They drove a magnificent rally and I am particularly pleased to see the pair of them back on the top step of the podium after something of a barren spell.
“As much as they have had to suffer on gravel tracks as a result of the rules requiring them to open the route, thereby meaning they have no chance of winning, they used the slight advantage that this starting order has on asphalt. But it wasn't easy here: changeable conditions made it tricky to select tyres and left no room for errors.”
“I have to thank the whole rally community, all the media, the journalists, the photographers, the TV crews, all the teams and all the drivers, but especially all the fans around the world [too],” he continued. “They made us and the team have the most fantastic four years we have had in our lives. It is really hard to go, but my job is done, like when your child becomes an adult and leaves home. You still care, but they have to find their own feet. I am convinced it is the right time now.
“The team can be successful. We've done a great job on the '17 car and we have done everything right that it can be successful.
“We had a fantastic experience, a fantastic journey. Without you [the media], it would never have been this kind of a journey. It was more than a dream coming true.
“I will really miss it, but I think when I hear all the discussions - and my brother sends me all the Twitter comments - some people may also be happy that I am leaving now. I will stay in touch and I will always follow rally, because for me this is the best motorsport that is around - and I will make the Formula 1 paddock all huge rally fans, I promise!”
Asked what he will take to Formula 1 after his years with VW and before that Ford, Capito said every sport can learn from rallying.
“Rallying is very professional, but it is also fun. Many people believe that enjoying the job and being professional and successful don't align, can't go together, but I think that in rallying we have proven that it even enhances the success if you are enjoying your job and if you have fun,” he explained.
“In England, they say: work hard, play hard, and that is what I can bring to Formula 1, and I hope I can bring some of it to F1 because I think the rally community is really unique and outstanding, and every sport can take something from rallying.”