GROUP RALLYING EDITOR
Let me introduce you to Florian Ruth. He’s nothing special. Only the man who’s going to change our world.
You might remember me banging on about cool Red Bull films like The Art of Flight and The Crash Reel; films that took a human angle on people skidding down a mountain on one or two pieces of wood and made them into emotion-packed cinematographic art.
And then we had the coverage of the World Rally Championship that was, theoretically, out of the same Red Bull Media House operation.
Except the WRC telly was, well, let’s be honest here, it was pony by comparison.
Now before WRC Promoter types get all uppity again, I’m more than happy to accept that the nightly 30-minute report is a race against time that has no room for art.
The same cannot and should not be said for the hour-long review programme screened the week after the event. Old ground. Back to our new best friend, Ruth. Ruth’s from the heart of Red Bull’s cool cuts. Not much of a rally man, but a real movie-maker. Just what we need. And, he’s 100 per cent WRC, his focus is firmly on making more watchable and more entertaining shows.
Understandably, we’ll reserve judgement on the programme until we’ve seen a few. Let’s let him get his skateboard parked and his feet out front of the bean bag before we start criticising – if there’s anything to criticise.
Either way, good on WRC Promoter for putting Florian in the position to make a change. Another change is the employment of a full-time drone squad into the production outfit; that’s another six people working on making the product event better.
And while we’re complimenting the promoter – something we’re not always terribly quick to do – we should say congratulations for landing a very encouraging television deal in Britain. You can stop scanning the listings pages from the depths of frustration trying to work out when our sport will be shown on ITV4.
It’s simple: every Monday after a WRC round head to Channel 5 at 1900hrs and sit down for an hour of muddy fever. When putting together this story, I asked WRC media expert Mark Wilford to put together an estimate of how many hours the championship would be shown across Channel 5, BT Sport and S4C. He shot passed 100 hours in no time – and that’s without considering any repeats or archive programmes. The real figure is probably double that.
It’s been a long time since the Wrc-following Brit has had so much action coming into his or her home without having to fork out to a satellite station for it.
And, as I said at the top of this column, this year’s coverage should be more watchable than ever. It’s not just about the cars and the corners. There’s a real human aspect to the WRC and I look forward to seeing that come across in 2016.
“The man who is going to change our world”