The ongoing saga surrounding the World Rally Championship has taken a fresh twist after it emerged that North One Sport – which lost its deal as series promoter after its parent company went into administration – has made an attempt to prevent vital timing equipment from being used on the Monte Carlo Rally.
Stage One Technology, which provides the timing and tracking systems for the WRC, has sent equipment to Valence ready for the start of the event next week but has now been contacted by lawyers representing North One Sport who are attempting to prevent some of the equipment from being used.
It is the latest part of a legal battle between Stage One Technology and North One Sport centered around the fact that North One Sport currently owes a 'substantial sum of money' to the timing company, who in turn had said they would seize equipment owned by North One Sport but which was useless without the expertise of Stage One Technology to run it.
In an attempt to ensure that the Monte Carlo Rally can go ahead as planned, Stage One Technology managing director Simon de Banke has written to North One Sport to suggest a compromise deal which would see his company pay North One Sport £10,000 for the equipment and then turn itself into a non-profit organisation which would donate its profits to charity.
The full open letter can be read in full below:
THE FIA WRC – LET'S DO SOMETHING POSITIVE:
As I write, the WRC Timing and Safety Tracking System are en route to Valence in order to assist in providing the results for the millions of fans around the world, and the safety tracking to help protect the competitors and spectators on the icy mountain stages of Rallye Monte-Carlo.
Parts of this system used to belong to North One Sport, and the dedicated team at Stage One Technology has developed and operated it for you, diligently and quietly for the last 10+ years.
As you know, Stage One Technology is owed a substantial sum of money by North One Sport which has put the jobs of the passionate S1T team, and those of its suppliers on the line. When it became clear that it was unlikely we would be able to be paid, we gave you notice that we would seize the timing and tracking systems in order to at least allow us the opportunity to continue to trade should the worst happen and you were unable to find a firm offer to buy NOS before time ran out.
Time did run out. And as far as we know, no firm offer was put in front of the FIA, although I can still understand how upset you would feel that in the final hours a very credible buyer seemed to be close to a deal.
As far as we are concerned we have completed the process of seizure of the assets for non payment and are satisfied we have a greater right to title to/possession of the equipment than any other party.