Everyone knows the Stobart VK M-Sport Ford rally team drivers face a tough challenge during the year; with 15 events across the globe that make up the FIA World Rally Championship. But when the drivers arrive at each event, their Ford Focus WRC cars are ready, polished and waiting for battle.
That’s because the Stobart Motorsport truck drivers make sure all the rally cars, equipment and spares arrive at each event safely and on time. However, one of the biggest logistical challenges they will face all year starts today as the 12-strong convoy sets off for Rally Jordan.
This Middle Eastern event is the furthest the trucks will venture this season, and their route uses road, sea, rail and air - reflecting the multimodal logistics service offered by the team’s sponsor Stobart Group.
Stobart Motorsport driver Peter McIntyre heads the fleet in his Iveco truck. In keeping with the Eddie Stobart tradition of naming the vehicles, his steed is called Michèle Mouton - after the famous female world rally driver. He transports the two Stobart team cars of Matthew Wilson and Gigi Galli around the world and explains, "This is one of our longest trips by far.
We start by driving to Felixstowe, get the Eurotunnel train to Calais and then drive down through France and into Italy. The trucks then get loaded onto a ship and make their way to Jordan while we get a flight back to the UK."
When the drivers get back to M-Sport’s HQ at Dovenby, Cumbria, they help with the final preparations for the rally. To complete their outward travel the truck drivers will fly to Amman, in Jordan, with the rest of the team – 120 people in total – and drive to the port to be reunited with their wagons. After this 700km round trip on the sandy roads the procession will arrive at the rally Service Park beside the Dead Sea and the unloading and set-up process will begin.
After the rally finishes the fun starts once again. Everything is loaded up and the 12 lorries are driven back down to the port in Jordan – where they sail to the Mediterranean island of Sardinia for the Rally d’Italia. The drivers fly back to the UK, prepare some more spare parts, then fly to Sardinia in time for the rally. Once the Italian round of the WRC finishes the trucks are then driven back to Cumbria to get unloaded and reloaded. Why?
"We are only back home after Sardinia for two days before everything sets off again for Greece and the Acropolis Rally," explains McIntyre. "It really is a tough job with long hours.
However, I couldn’t drive a world rally car as fast as Matthew and I doubt he could handle my truck; but that’s what makes this job so special. We all have a place within the Stobart team and everyone pulls together to make it a success."
- Gus Burrows- photo Stobart