Capito returns to Volkswagen after brief McLaren stint

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Volkswagen has announced the return of Jost Capito to the company in the role of managing director following a brief stint with McLaren.

Capito headed up Volkswagen’s motorsport for four years, overseeing its domination of the World Rally Championship before joining up with McLaren as racing CEO last summer.

Capito had been due to work under group CEO Ron Dennis, only for Dennis to resign from his role following a boardroom struggle at the end of last year. McLaren confirmed in February that Capito would also be leaving the team after five months.

Volkswagen has now confirmed that Capito has rejoined the company in a senior management role.

“With effect from June 1, 2017, Jost Capito is to be Managing Director of Volkswagen R GmbH and Volkswagen Zubehör GmbH,” a statement from Volkswagen reads.

“Volkswagen R GmbH is the competence center for design- and performance-oriented products of the Volkswagen brand. Volkswagen Zubehör GmbH develops and markets vehicle accessories throughout the world.

“Jost Capito succeeds Ulrich Riestenpatt gt. Richter, who had been managing director since 2009. Mr. Riestenpatt gt. Richter had already become the Plant Manager at Osnabrück as Speaker of the Management Board and Managing Director, Technical, of Volkswagen Osnabrück GmbH in October 2016 in parallel to his other responsibilities.”

Ferrari teammates Vettel and Raikkonen fastest in rainy final practice at Australian GP

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen went one-two in the final practice session ahead of qualifying at the water-logged Australian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Vettel set a best-lap time of 1 minute, 26.067 seconds, more than 2.4 seconds faster than his teammate in second.

Both Ferrari drivers switched from their intermediate tires to the super-fast, ultra-soft tires for the final few laps of the session, testing conditions on the track after a day-long downpour left it slick and filled with small puddles.

Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton did not opt to try out their soft tires, sticking to the intermediates for the entire session. They had the seventh- and eighth-fastest times, after topping the leaderboard in practice in dry conditions on Friday.

The heavy rains subsided by early afternoon, allowing the track to rapidly dry during the third practice session and making conditions safe for drivers to test their soft tires.

Still, only a few drivers completed a timed lap with the softer compounds, with Mercedes, Red Bull and most of the others staying with their intermediates.

Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson had the third-fastest time of the session on ultrasoft tires, followed by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on intermediates.

Hamilton remains the favorite to capture his fifth straight pole position at the Australian Grand Prix in qualifying later Saturday. He had the fastest laps on ultrasoft tires in the two practice sessions on Friday, though Verstappen was right behind him.

Verstappen and Vettel both slid on the slick track early in the third practice session, but maintained control and completed their runs without incident.

Verstappen’s teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, had the sixth-fastest time of the session. The Australian’s chances of winning his fifth career Grand Prix on his home track in Melbourne took a hit late Friday when he was assessed a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

The Australian driver was penalized for driving too fast under red-flag conditions during Friday’s second practice session because of debris on the track.