It has been a week of mixed emotions for Germany-based motorsport engineer Richard Browne.
In a week where he should have been celebrating winning the FIA World Rallycross Championship with Volkswagen Motorsport the Firies man learned that the German company were to cease motorsport activity with immediate effect.
Browne and his driver Johan Kristofferson were declared FIA World Rallycross Champions after this week’s Nurburgring’s event was cancelled due to the pandemic.
Late last week Volkswagen announced it is to close its Hanover operation with staff there to be re-deployed into other areas of the group’s business.
Other brands within the group will continue with motorsport, Porsche has an international GT racing programme and Audi are set to return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans and enter the 2022 Dakar Rally.
These are both options for Browne following last week’s surprise announcement.
“Yes, bit of a shock, but they secured everyone’s jobs by absorbing them into the group, probably in Wolfsburg,” said Browne. “We have to figure out if we can swap direct to Audi or Porsche but we may have to first move to into the main group. Its complicated and I need to take some time now, let the dust settle. It is a bad time to change jobs right now, not much out there, even less with proper manufacturer teams.”
Aside for his success in Rallycross, Browne is also a double World Rally Championship round winner having engineered Norwegian Andreas Mikkelsen’s threewins at world-level, Spain 2015 and Australia and Polnad in 2016 while working for Volkswagen Motorsport II team.
This was the third time that Kristofferson won the world Rallycross title, and he also finished fifth in last year’s World Touring Car Championship, with Browne alongside at all times.
“We had a good run, and did some amazing things,” added Browne.