This Week in Ford Racing June 15, 1999
FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP
THE FORD MARTINI RALLY TEAM HAVE ALREADY MADE PLANS FOR THE LONG HAUL TRIP TO THE NINTH ROUND OF THE CHAMPIONSHIP, THE RALLY NEW ZEALAND, WHICH TAKES PLACE IN THE LUSH GREEN COUNTRYSIDE AROUND AUCKLAND CITY BETWEEN THE 16 - 18 JULY. THE RALLY NEW ZEALAND IS THE LONGEST TRIP OF THE YEAR FOR THE FORD MARTINI WORLD RALLY TEAM, WITH MORE THAN 24 HOURS IN THE AIR. FORD MARTINI TEAM CO-ORDINATION MANAGER, JOHN MILLINGTON, EXPLAINED THE DIFFICULTIES OF TRANSPORTING THE WHOLE TEAM SUCH A LONG DISTANCE.
HOW ARE THE CARS TRANSPORTED TO NEW ZEALAND? JOHN MILLINGTON, Manager Ford Martini 'We send the three recce cars and the five service trucks via sea freight directly after the Rally Argentina has finished, we then send the two rally cars and the test car via air freight from the UK.''
HOW MANY CREW MEMBERS WILL BE OUT IN NEW ZEALAND? ''Forty six Ford Martini M-Sport crew will be out in New Zealand to make sure that the whole event runs as smoothly as possible.''
WHEN DO THE CREW PLAN TO ARRIVE? "'We will all be there from the 3 July, but two members of the team will have arrived in advance to set up the workshop and supervise the unloading of the vehicles. They will be accompanied by three team mechanics who will begin preparing the cars.''
WHAT ARE YOUR OWN OPINIONS ON THE RALLY? IS IT ONE OF YOUR FAVOURITE RALLIES OR IS THE HARDEST WORK DUE TO THE DISTANCE? ''It is not one of my favourite events due mainly to the fact that it is winter out in New Zealand when we go, so it is normally very cold and wet. Packing for the event is difficult because hen it is a warm and sunny July in England I have to then organise gloves and jackets ready to brave the cold weather. The event has become much more user friendly in recent years due mainly to the organisers visiting other events and bringing the Rally New Zealand into line with some of the more established rallies on the calendar. With modern communications the long distance is now not a problem. One of the biggest assets in New Zealand is the local Ford office who are some of the most helpful and friendly people I get to deal with. Ford New Zealand are really helpful in arranging our local requirements from loan cars to rubbish skips for our workshop. Without the assistance of Ford New Zealand this event would be very difficult to co-ordinate.''
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE SHORT HAUL AND LONG HAUL EVENTS? ''The long haul kit has to be fully transportable inside sea containers, so for example, our service trucks are smaller and designed to fit into the 40' high cube containers. We also take a 20' container that is converted and kitted out as a mobile workshop. It has it's own power supply and equipment so that we can be totally self sufficient and can cope without any outside assistance.''
HOW FAR IN ADVANCE DO YOU HAVE TO START PLANNING FOR AN EVENT LIKE NEW ZEALAND? ''We really plan from the day the rally finishes the year before. Basically with so many things to arrange we really need 12 months to get everything sorted out in time before the rally starts again.''
OTHER THAN THE LONG DISTANCES INVOLVED WHAT OTHER PROBLEMS DO YOU ENCOUNTER ON LONG HAUL EVENTS? ''The local conditions, rules and regulations are a lot to contend with on the long haul events, especially the car tax regulations. As each vehicle is required to be road taxed it takes a lot of work to get all the team vehicles road legal for use on the public roads. One of the biggest problems with the long haul events is having to work with jet lag - it is not the best time to try to concentrate!''
Without John Millington, the team would literally not move as he is the man who reserves flights, ferries, accommodation and fuel supply as well as placing the team's official event entry. John is a former co-driver and won Britain's Road Rally Championship in 1981 and '85 with Ron Beecroft, against the likes of Colin McRae's co-driver, Nicky Grist! He joined Ford in 1992 and his expertise and knowledge of the logistics of World Championship rallying is highly valued when it comes to making on-the-spot decisions during events. He is also responsible for publishing the highly complex movement schedule before each rally and keeps track of up to one thousand tyres on each event.