“There is cer­tainly no lack of in­vest­ment here”

Motor Sport News - - Rally Monte Carlo -

Wow, well wasn’t that epic? Twenty five hours of live Monte Carlo Ral­lye footage beamed di­rect to the in­ter­net on WRC All Live.

Hav­ing played a very small part in help­ing to de­liver ev­ery stage live, I can tell you that the ef­fort that went into ac­tu­ally mak­ing the ser­vice hap­pen was noth­ing short of Her­culean. Let’s think about this for a mo­ment: we’re not talk­ing here about a ‘soft launch’ on some ob­scure rally just to test the con­cept. No, the WRC Pro­moter well and truly took the bull by the horns and chose to in­tro­duce us to this broad­cast revo­lu­tion on per­haps the high­est pro­file, most de­mand­ing rally on the cal­en­dar. It’s hard to over­state just how enor­mous a chal­lenge cov­er­ing this was.

Let’s look at a few Monte re­al­i­ties. It’s the only twin-cen­tred event on the cal­en­dar, Gap and Monaco are sep­a­rated by 150 miles. It’s tra­di­tion­ally the most ea­gerly an­tic­i­pated event of the sea­son. It’s one of the long­est events we’ll see this year at just un­der 250 miles. It runs in moun­tain­ous ter­rain in the mid­dle of win­ter and is in­vari­ably blessed with a lib­eral sprin­kling of the white stuff. The crowds out on the stages and in the ser­vice can be enor­mous – this week­end I wit­nessed cars parked over three miles from stage ends. Any of these things taken in iso­la­tion would nor­mally make one ner­vous about launch­ing a high-pro­file in­no­va­tion onto a very de­mand­ing rally pub­lic. So fair play to Oliver Ciesla and his team for see­ing the Monte as an op­por­tu­nity and not shrink­ing away from the enor­mous chal­lenge.

The sec­ond stage of the rally was my first taste of this great new world of rally broad­cast­ing. It was af­ter 2200hrs and more-or-less pitch dark at the stop line of the Bayons-breziers stage. I’d been asked to do the stage-end in­ter­views and rolled up ex­pect­ing to see satel­lite trucks and an army of techies set­ting up the kit that was surely re­quired to de­liver a live feed from such a re­mote lo­ca­tion. What I ac­tu­ally en­coun­tered was a very in­dus­tri­ous cam­era­man called Ed with a head torch and a Ford Fo­cus. Twenty min­utes later he’d rolled out his ca­bles, erected his an­tenna, fired up his genny and we were ready to go live. And it’s this clever use of the lat­est in cut­tingedge tech that has al­lowed the pro­moter to un­der­take such an am­bi­tious project.

We’ve had tan­ta­lis­ing glimpses of just what might be pos­si­ble in the past. But what we saw com­ing out of Monte was so much bet­ter than any­thing that had gone pre­vi­ously.

And one fi­nal thought. The WRC Pro­moter is now the big­gest team in the ser­vice park with around 130 per­son­nel on each event. The ho­tel bill alone is over £10,000 a night. So no more talk please of a lack of in­vest­ment from those at the top. This could well be just the be­gin­ning.

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