Ari Vatanen mainostoimisto Avalon

David Richards

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David Richards


After winning the 1981 World Championship with Ari Vatanen David Richards retired from co-driving to set up what became Prodrive, the company responsible for Subaru's WRC effort, as well as numerous other motor sport projects. His highlight so far was to engineer the takeover of Aston Martin.

"David Richards is so much in the public domain these days and the British media often ask me about him. Capable, ambitious, talented, are words that come to mind. He's always been a far-sighted man with high targets. The bigger the challenge, the more he gets inspired by it. All this without being arrogant. He's got a healthy self-confidence, which can sometimes be an irritation to those who are not as well equipped in this respect. He is the Richard Branson of motoring.

Look at David's career: he's started from nothing. That's got to be proof of an ability to do the right things. There are numerous examples of that. He always had this trait of thanking people in writing when it was appropriate. One notable thing for a guy from Tuupovaara was his habit of changing to a clean shirt every day - why, we were only used to doing it once a week after the sauna!

He certainly always had an eye for business opportunities. If I was wearing a new rally jacket made in Finland, it would catch his eye and the next thing I knew, he'd be the British importer for them. He used co-driving as a launch-pad to the universe of business, even though rallying remains the motor sport form closest to his heart.

In the 1979 RAC Rally David took it very hard, when he stumbled on an ancient technicality in the regulations, which dropped us from second to fourth. It was difficult for him to accept that he could make a mistake, just like we all do sometimes.

But all in all, David's career really speaks for itself."