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Q&A: Andrew Coe - Rally GB: EXCLUSIVE.

by Rob Wilkins


TO HEAR THE INTERVIEW IN FULL WITH ANDREW COE: CLICK HERE


The Wales Rally GB confirmed that it has been awarded CarbonNeutral event status on Thursday at the official media launch in Cardiff. Crash.net Radio caught up with Andrew Coe, chief executive of event organiser International Motor Sports Ltd (IMS) and got the details on that - and spoke more generally about this year's Rally GB, the final round in the 2008 FIA World Rally Championship, which runs from December 4-7...



Crash.net:
Andrew, how are preparations going for this year's Rally GB?

Andrew Coe:
Great - we are very much on track. We have had an exciting morning here with the launch of the event and we have some thrilling developments for 2008.

Crash.net:
The big announcement of course is that this year's event is going to be CarbonNeutral.

AC:
That is correct. We are obviously very excited about making that announcement. I think as far as we are aware, certainly in WRC terms, we are the only event to be completely CarbonNeutral. But possibly even wider than that - and in terms of motorsport events in general, we are not aware of anybody else that has gone down this path. It is a very important move and hopefully using the platform of the Wales Rally GB and the WRC we can showcase the fact we can all take action both as individuals and corporately in our case, for this very important issue. The important thing really is we have taken the step of off-setting all of the activities associated with our event - including spectator travel from both overseas and nationally. In effect you can come and visit our event and go home with a very clear conscience.

Crash.net:
How exactly is this carbon off-setting going to be achieved?

AC:
We have been working with a company called the CarbonNeutral Company and they are authorities in this particular area. We have done a thorough research programme into what the emissions are for our event - literally from the ground upwards. What we have done this year is in invest in a number of programmes that are designed to reduce carbon emissions - and these are projects that we will be talking about more over the coming weeks and months, some of which are based here in Wales, which is obviously a positive. But it is a matter of also embarking on a cultural change as a company and an event to adopt measures that are going to reduce our carbon emissions over the next few years. We are also working closely obviously with the automotive sector and car manufacturers to look at the rally cars themselves. Although the rally cars, and this was quite a pleasant surprise for us, but they only constitute a very small percentage, less than 5 per cent, of the total emissions of our event. You can imagine the important factor is actually the spectator visits to the event. That is what generates the largest part of our Carbon footprint. But as I say we are working with various projects around the world now to off set our carbon emissions and hopefully also embark on internal measures to make sure we gradually reduce our emissions year-by-year.

Crash.net:
Some experts say that carbon off-setting doesn't work and that it doesn't actually address the root cause. How would you respond to that?

AC:
I think it does as long as it is in conjunction with a series of management initiatives and programmes to reduce the carbon emissions over time. In that case the two can then go very much hand-in-hand. We have obviously taken a lot of advice and soundings on this. But the position is none of us can afford to wait. We really need to use the platform of our event and our sport to showcase the technology that is actually starting to contribute towards the car technology of the future, which will obviously involve higher compression engines and perhaps lower capacity engines, but higher power engines. That is probably the direction all of us will need to go in, in the very near future.

Crash.net:
Rally Norway did this last year with carbon off-setting. Is this where Rally GB has got the inspiration from?

AC:
Not really. We have been looking at this for some time and obviously we have, as our title sponsors, the Welsh Assembly Government and a number of government agencies based down here in Wales that support us. They are obviously very keen to see us go down this particular route because most government agencies are very sensitive to this issue and have been for some time. We have been thinking about this and working with our title sponsor for some time to see how best we can address this issue. A lot of thought has gone into it and we believe this is the best way forward for us. As long as we are raising awareness and hopefully encouraging people to take full responsibility for their emissions then we can all start talking about this in a more positive light.

Crash.net:
Now the other big announcement was the fact the tickets have gone on sale and related to that is the news that the event will have a 'kid for a quid' initiative.

AC:


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Andrew Coe shows off the Wales Rally GB CarbonNeutral certificate. WRGB Media Launch. June 5 2008. [PIC CREDIT: Gary Jones / www.garyjonesrallypics.co.uk]
Andrew Coe. Wales Rally GB Media Launch. June 5 2008. [PIC CREDIT: Gary Jones / www.garyjonesrallypics.co.uk]
Andrew Coe and Ieuan Wyn Jones. Wales Rally GB Media Launch. June 5 2008. [PIC CREDIT: Gary Jones / www.garyjonesrallypics.co.uk]
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