WRC: VW chief warns Ogier could quit over rules

WRC: VW chief warns Ogier could quit over rules
2016-07-14 13:33:31
http://www.racer.com/component/flexicontent/502-rally/132006-vw-chief-warns-ogier-could-quit-over-rules?Itemid=1
Date:
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Volkswagen Motorsport boss Jost Capito fears World Rally champion Sebastien Ogier could quit if the debate over 2017 running order rules goes the wrong way for him.

Ogier, who has not taken victory since Rally Sweden in February, insists the current regulations make it impossible for the championship leader to win gravel rallies. As points leader, he must run first on the road on the first two days of events – the situation made tougher still for 2016 with Rally2 returnees no longer placed at the front of the start order for day leg two, as had been the case last year.

Discussions over the 2017 rules are ongoing, amid a push from the FIA to make the championship leader run at the front on all three days. While Ogier has always steered clear of a direct answer on how he would respond to such a rule, Capito believes it would cost the WRC its champion.

"I think he might retire," said Capito when asked what he thought Ogier would do if forced to run first throughout each rally. "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..."

Capito doubts the FIA would go through with a move to championship order for all three days, and it appears the governing body's stance is softening, with WRC manager Jarmo Mahonen now talking about finding a fairer way forward.

"I don't think it will happen, so I don't think about this," said Capito. "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."

HOW RUNNING ORDER RULES HAVE AFFECTED 2016:

RALLY        SURFACE      WINNER              INITIAL ROAD POS.
Monte Carlo  Ice/asphalt  Sebastien Ogier         1st
Sweden       Snow         Sebastien Ogier         1st
Mexico       Gravel       Jari-Matti Latvala      8th
Argentina    Gravel       Hayden Paddon           5th
Portugal     Gravel       Kris Meeke              13th
Italy        Gravel       Thierry Neuville        8th
Poland       Gravel       Andreas Mikkelsen       3rd

 

WRC Promoter and the manufacturers recently met in Munich to hold further talks on running order rules.

The results of those discussions will be debated at the next WRC Commission meeting before potential ratification at the FIA's World Motor Sport Council in September.

Capito, who is due to leave VW for the McLaren Formula 1 team next month, added: "We all agree what we have now is wrong.

"But we are not agreed on the common way forward, there are lot of options to discuss in Commission.

"I won't tell you my preferred way forward, we keep these discussions private, but anything and everything is better than what we have now."

Despite having gone five rallies without a win, Ogier continues to hold a 51-point championship lead as his rivals struggle to find consistency.

Jari-Matti Latvala, Hayden Paddon, Kris Meeke, Thierry Neuville and Andreas Mikkelsen have all taken one win each since February.

LEADING WRC STANDINGS

PosDriverPoints
1 Sebastien Ogier 0.143
2 Andreas Mikkelsen 0.092
3 Hayden Paddon 0.072
4 Jari-Matti Latvala 0.068
5 Dani Sordo 0.068
6 Mads Ostberg 0.062
7 Thierry Neuville 0.061
8 Ott Tanak 0.052
9 Kris Meeke 0.026
10 Eric Camilli 0.024

 

Originally on Autosport.com

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