On Patrol With the Ford World Rally Team

AA patrol completes tour of duty on Wales Rally GB

AA Patrol Brian Evans joined the BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally team for a week in wales

17 November 2010

AA patrol Brian Evans of Aberystwyth.  Ashely Fowler behind AA patrol Brian Evans of Aberystwyth helped Ford world rally driver Jari-Matti Latvala to a great 'Finnish' at the Wales Rally GB last week with second place in the drivers' championship.

The efforts of the 'Flying Finn' and his compatriot co-driver Miikka Anttila also meant that the BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team scored more points on the final round of the season than the team above, finishing second in the manufacturers' standings.

Brian joined the team for the full week in Cardiff as part of a job swap with rally technician Ashley Fowler who works for M-Sport, based in Cockermouth, Cumbria, which prepared and ran all the official Ford Focus RS WRC cars in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC).

However, top flight motorsport wasn't all glitz and glam for Brian who was thrown in at the deep end and worked the same long hours as the other technicians.

He says: "Although I loved every minute of it and was well looked after, I wouldn't want to do their job full-time – it was far more tiring than I imagined. I can't understand how they keep their partners!"

"The days were very long and the pressure was intense, especially when the cars came in for a service – they could strip and rebuild the car in just a few minutes.

"I was also amazed at the attention to detail – sensors monitor everything in the car, so even the smallest issue was scrutinised closely, and nothing was left to chance. If in doubt, parts were replaced.

"However, what got me through it was Ashley and the team – the camaraderie and commitment they showed was phenomenal. Everyone knows what's required and they all rally round, no pun intended."

Brian continues: "My experience as a patrol meant that I was able to help service the cars, so I was thrilled that I helped, in my own small way, the team enjoy a successful finale to the season. It was nice that the Ford Focus RS WRC car was able to bow out on a high in its final world rally."

A Hard Day's Night

Even once the rally was finished, there was no rest for Brian and the team, as they had to pack away the temporary service area, equipment and load the cars. He says: "People have this idea that the service area just pops out of some magic box but they forget that a lot of work goes in before and after the rally, which is all part of a technician's job."

His rallying experience was capped off when Ashley took Brian out for a spin in the Ford Focus RS WRC after its last competitive outing had finished – an experience he says he'll never forget.

To complete the job swap, Ashley will now spend some time on the road with Brian as an AA patrol. Brian concludes: "Of course, I can't send Ashley out by himself in a yellow van but I'll do my best to give him a taste of life as an AA patrol. We may not be able to change a gearbox in three minutes but we have our share of sophisticated technology in the van, so not much defeats us!"

AA members will be able to read more about their job swap in the Spring 2011 edition of The AA Magazine.


18 November 2010