Volkswagen WRC team chief slams 'waste of time' Rally Italy route

Volkswagen team principal Jost Capito has called on the FIA and event organisers to justify 'endurance' events in the World Rally Championship

Volkswagen WRC team chief slams 'waste of time' Rally Italy route

Capito declared the 350-mile road sections that featured on some days of last week's Rally Italy as excessive for a modern WRC round.

"We talk about the endurance element, but what is endurance?" Capito told AUTOSPORT.

"Is it a 500km [310-mile] road section? That is nothing to do with endurance.

"To make a rally long with long road sections is stupid, it's nothing to do with competition - it's just wasting time for everybody.

"We have service at six in the morning and it's completely and the same at midnight."

DAVID EVANS on Rally Italy's 'endurance' stance

Rally Italy co-ordinator Antonio Turitto defended the itinerary as crucial to the event's character, and said it had been popular with fans.

"This rally is the European Safari," he said.

"We need the adrenalin and emotion to tell a story. This is a rally with character, not just a rally around the city.

"Mr Capito said he didn't like the service at six in the morning and midnight. But we can't have the rally without the service in the morning and the service at night was at 10 o'clock and had 5000 people watching it.

"I understand the point about the long road sections and we are looking for more possibilities to find some new stages in this area."

Capito said the length of time crews were on the road was a potential safety concern.

"What if something happens and people look at this and see the guys have been in the car for 18 hours?" he said.

"It's not the time for this anymore. If you want long-distance endurance events then it's Dakar and the cross-country championships, but rallying is no longer an endurance event.

"The FIA and the organisers need to think about the schedule."

Citroen driver Mads Ostberg backed Capito's stance.

"If somebody can stand up and tell me the good argument for doing this, then OK," he said.

"But they can't. It's just f***ing stupid to get up at five in the morning and go to bed at midnight - we don't see this in any other sport."

WRC manager Michele Mouton was unimpressed with Ostberg's complaint.

"If we continue with rallies getting shorter, then soon we will be at the level of the European Rally Championship," she argued.

"What do we want? This is the only race this year where we have 400 kilometres - most of the rallies are just above 300 kilometres, because every extra kilometre costs so much money.

"Yes, this one [Saturday] was a long day, but it's a long day for everybody.

"We are only racing every three weeks and my reaction is 'if you cannot stand that then go back home.'

"My reaction might be a little bit rude, but it is what I am thinking."

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