Q&A: Keith Murray (Subaru) – EXCLUSIVE.

by Rob Wilkins

Keith Murray is one of the men in the know when it comes to the logistical challenges that FIA World Rally Championship can throw up during the course of a season. As the transport manager at the Subaru World Rally Team, he knows just what it takes to get from 'A' to 'B' and then from 'B' to 'C' and then... ...'Y' to 'Z'.

We caught up with him in September and here he speaks exclusively to Rallycourse and Crash.net Radio about the trials and tribulations of getting around the globe during the year, when the WRC visits 16 different countries and five continents...

Keith, just how big a challenge is the FIA World Rally Championship for the teams in terms of logistics?

Keith Murray:
It is huge. We have got 30 or 40 people to shift around - five or six trucks by road and we have also got air and sea for the long haul events. It is unique in some respects, in as much as we have to get there, which puts a bit of pressure on us.

Cost is a secondary thing because we haven't got any choice, as we need to get there and we need to get there on the date that the event starts, which is what makes it challenging.

2006 was a bit different as well, with the pairing of events - that adds another dimension, because we have got to do re-builds' in the field and that adds to the nightmare.

Roughly speaking how many miles or kilometres do the teams clock up during a year?

For road transport it is not as much as you think. For example we do Monte Carlo and Sweden historically as 'one event'. We go from here with the majority of the fleet down to Monte Carlo, which is probably 800-1000 miles and then we park up for the week. Then the majority of the fleet drives up to Sweden. We usually bring one or two trucks back here with the cars in and then we swap over. The other big thing is the wheels - we obviously have to swap them. So in terms of mileage, with the actual trucks you are looking at around 16,000 miles a year in total.

Miles covered by the team in total would be phenomenal once you include places like New Zealand and Australia. I wouldn't want to guess at that.

I assume the long-haul events in Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Mexico and Argentina present the biggest test?

They are in some respects but in others they are actually easier. They are because it is remote and you have got sea freight, with customs and so on, although we don't have customs issues in Europe now. You have got the weather which obviously has an affect. But at the same time it tends to look after its self. We have what we have to a certain extent.

Whereas if you are only in Germany, the engineers think they have got that bit longer to make some changes and everything else. Whereas when we are getting ready for somewhere like Japan, where we charter an aircraft, all the teams club together, the cars go on a given date, it doesn't move, because that is when the plane goes.

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