Phil Short, who has supervised the WRC’s young driver championships for more than a decade, will retire at the end of the season
Short has guided more than 100 promising young drivers and co-drivers through the early stages of their WRC careers and witnessed the likes of Ott Tänak, Hayden Paddon, Craig Breen and Elfyn Evans progress to the sport’s top level.
For the last 11 years, Short has held a key management role in various incarnations of the series, including the Pirelli Star Driver, WRC Academy and the current FIA Junior WRC. He will step down as sporting supervisor after the final round at Wales Rally GB (3 - 6 October).
“I always take pleasure in seeing those guys and girls obtain the success they deserve, in whatever theatre of the sport, in subsequent years,” said Short.
“I don’t claim to have ‘discovered’ these prodigious talents, but I hope I have been instrumental in giving them help, advice, guidance and support along the way, to enable them to develop their abilities and progress towards their ultimate aims.”
Short, 74, hopes to remain involved in rallying after a lifetime in the sport. His international co-driving career started in 1970 and he enjoyed considerable success alongside the likes of former world champions Hannu Mikkola, Björn Waldegård and Walter Röhrl.
He also partnered Pentti Airikkala, M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson and David Llewellin, twice winning the British international series alongside the Welshman and claiming 17 international victories.
Short switched to team management and oversaw nine world drivers’ titles and seven manufacturers’ crowns during his time at Audi, Toyota, Mitsubishi and Ford.
M-Sport Poland’s Junior WRC championship manager Maciej Woda paid tribute to Short for his ‘unrivalled dedication’.
“Phil has been there for so many talented young rally drivers and co-drivers over the years, offering them crucial advice and guidance at the start of their careers. Some of these drivers have gone on, or are certainly on their way, to incredible success in international rallying and Phil is definitely owed thanks for that.
“His eye for detail and almost infinite knowledge bank that he has developed through his experience in a variety of roles throughout his career will be greatly missed in the Junior WRC service park along with his never-ending kindness and good humour,” he added.