Volkswagen Motorsport’s sole employee Richard Browne, returns to World Rallycross
Firies motorsport engineer Richard Browne is the sole remaining employee of Volkswagen Motorsport.
The firms behind the Polo World Rally, the Pikes Peak winning hillclimb car, the Polo R5 rally car and rallycross variations of the same car closed its doors for good in late June.
The parent group closed Volkswagen’s Motorsport arm following an internal re-think. These include a Dakar attempt and a return to Le Mans for Audi. Porsche is also returning to the 24 hour classic.
The department closure was announced earlier this year, but it only came to pass last month.
Staff were redeployed in to other sections of the group, except Browne, who was retained by Volkswagen to oversee the remaining lifespan of the Polo R5 rally car and to allow customers access to parts and information as and when it may be required.
“Motorsport is completely dissolved and all people that wanted to stay have been absorbed into the main group.However, I’m lucky, because I have the only motorsport related job now in VW,” he told Kerry Motorsport News.
“I’ll be responsible for everything related to the R5 Polo Homologation, attending FIA technical working groups and technical support for Wevers, who are the technical partner for R5 parts.
“Lots of administration, but a different and interesting side of motorsport that I had not done so much with before. I’m looking forward to it,”
He also returned trackside this weekend,
“My old driver, Johan Kristofferson has been calling me since January trying to get me on board with his Audi program. I finally gave in and did a test last week with him in Buxteheude, Germany, and went down for the first race in Barcelona this week. Its a new car for him and me, and it’s a nice challenge.”
Three-time world champion Johan Kristoffersson was left on the back foot as a Q1 time penalty left him down in an uncharacteristic 15th position. Proving why he’s the most crowned competitor in World Championship history, the Swede went on to win all three subsequent qualifiers to haul himself up to sixth place after Q4.
That set the scene for a dazzling duel in the second semi-final, as Kristoffersson tried every which way to pass Kevin over the last two laps. However, the Peugeot driver refused to yield setting up an all-Hansen front row for the final following Timmy’s victory in the first semi-final.
In the final, after gaining a spot to third at the start, Kristoffersson then deployed an early joker-lane tactic to try to get the undercut on the Hansen duo, but found himself covered by Timmy. The pair emerged from the joker behind GRX-SET World RX Team’s Krisztián Szabó, though, and the subsequent delay – allied to a rapid turn-of-speed from Kevin – enabled the latter to sweep around the outside of his two countrymen on lap four to assume a lead he wouldn’t relinquish.
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