Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Looking ahead on

Graham Goodwin has today posted my latest "Comment" article on You will have to go there, if you are a subscriber, in order to read it. If you are not a subscriber, then I suggest you do subscribe. It is no money in my pocket whether you do or whether you don't, but as the article in question took me quite a long time to write, I felt that it would compromise them if I simply posted it here.

In any case, much of it is merely a re-hash of what I wrote here on January 5th, although having re-read that piece, I see that my thinking has moved on a bit. Much has this has been due to talking to various people, or having email exchanges with them. Some have not replied to my emails, but others have - some willing to be quoted, others not. I will respect those wishes, by not mentioning anyone, then even the smarter ones among you will not be able to work anything out by a process of elimination.

However, one manufacturer should be singled out - Audi. Yes, I know I have a 'special relationship' with Audi - Audi UK has been very supportive of Radio Le Mans in general and of me in particular over recent years - but it is not all one way. I had an Audi 80 2.8i as a company car from 1992 until 1995, when it was stolen from a side street where I had left it overnight in Camberwell (not going there again). Then I bought a second hand, R-reg A4 Avant 2.4 (V6 petrol engine) in 2001, which I kept until 2009, when I bought the brand new S4 Avant that is my current means of transport. So I freely admit that I am a fan, regardless of their success at Le Mans. Maybe it is subliminal advertising,... but I digress.

The reason for the special mention of Audi in this context was that, having sent their PR man in the UK an email full of questions, I was offered the chance of a telephone interview with Dr Wolfgang Ullrich - Audi's Head of Motorsport. So of course I accepted, and at the appointed time, (to the minute) my phone rang, a very polite lady introduced herself, asked me if I was ready to speak to Dr Ullrich, and put me through. I then had twenty-five minutes in which one of the key individuals in Audi's motorsporting success in the last decade (and more) gave me his total attention. I felt very privileged.

I have not quoted him directly in the dailysportscar article, but did use some of the wisdom that he imparted in order both to ensure the accuracy of my facts and to colour my opinions.

In the next few days, I will try and compose my notes from that conversation into a piece that I shall then publish either here or on dailysportscar, I have yet to decide... but I am open to persuasion.

Postscript - and very parenthetically:
Deep down, I actually like Alfa Romeos quite a lot too, having owned two of them in the past. But the passion exhibited by some of my journalistic colleagues was straying into obsession, so I quietly buried my enthusiasm, changed jobs, got a company car (in those days the rule was "Vauxhall only"), and I have to admit that I haven't driven one for simply ages.

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