by Rob Wilkins
John Millington is the logistics manager at M-Sport and his job is to ensure the BP Ford
World Rally team and the Stobart
VK squad arrive at each event suitably equipped and stocked-up for each round in the FIA World Rally Championship.
We caught up with John back in September and here he speaks exclusively to Rallycourse
and Crash.net Radio
about his role and precisely what it involves...
John, during the season the FIA World Rally Championship goes all round the globe. Just how big a challenge is this for the teams in terms of logistics?
This year has been an extra big challenge to be fair because of having the back-to-backs in Germany and Finland.
Plus obviously moving items around the world now takes a lot more paper work and effort with the current situation - even flying people around the world is no longer easy. So, we have had a few new challenges this year, which we have not had in previous years.
I assume the long-haul events in Japan, NZ, Australia, Mexico and Argentina present the biggest test?
Yes they are, but they tend to have different requirements – in so far as once the containers are packed up and depart at the start of the year [by sea] that is one door that is closed, if you like, on that actual unit of spares and parts. We don't have to worry about it anymore then, it is down to our shipping agent.
The airfreight as I said a moment ago becomes more complicated every month with the current situation, but again we have got good shipping agents and as long as we work with them, then everything works OK.
Is one event in particular more difficult than the rest in terms of logistics?
For the long haul events, Japan is normally the most difficult because their rules and regulations are a lot stricter than most of the other countries.
Australia is catching them up fast though. For example, in Japan we had to fly an Australian customs officer over to Japan, to oversee the washing of the cars and containers etc, to make sure they were up to the stringent requirements now required to prevent diseases and things like that coming into the country.
Likewise is there one event that is easier than the rest in terms of logistics, assume it is Rally GB?
It is in one aspect. It is easy in that they speak the same language as us and they are obviously on the same wavelength. But the difficulty is, as it is so close, we turn into 'last-minute.com', in so far as everything has to go at the last minute as it is so easy to get there. A long-haul event, particularly in New Zealand, where it is a three-day flight, once everybody leaves here, you know they are gone for three-days until they touch down again. So there is no possibility of sending anything there late.
How much kit is moved around?