Marginal Gains

In every walk of life, the best are always looking for marginal gains to become even better.

Take the Monte Carlo Rally last weekend (in the World Rally Championship), the crews were eking out every second that they could muster in changeable conditions from changing settings on the cars, to using studded tyres and to mix it up with stud and non-studded tyres.

With all that in mind, after three days of flat-out driving, the Monte Carlo was the closest finish in the round’s history. It went right to the wire with Sebastien Ogier in the Citroen and Thierry Neuville in the Hyundai going into the final stage with only 0.4 seconds between the pair. Ogier completed the final stage of the rally in second overall and 2.2 seconds up on Neuville – again it’s all about those fine margins.

Sebastien Ogier on way to winning the 2019 Monte Carlo Rally

Sébastien Ogier, Citroën Total WRT driver said “We certainly weren’t taking anything for granted. The final leg was particularly stressful with our minor throttle issue, which meant the car kept on accelerating, even under braking. We got some good advice from the team and were able to perform some makeshift repairs on the road section. We then pushed really hard and in the end, it worked out.”
“It was an incredibly intense weekend; it was a non-stop battle, but we managed to come away with the win. Obviously, we’re very proud of this result in our first race with the C3 WRC, especially because, as I’ve often said, this rally is one of the most special rallies for me. And it also means we can celebrate Citroën’s centenary in style. In other words, we couldn’t have hoped for a better start on our first race back with the team.”

Take Kris Meeke, like Seb Ogier, he too was stepping in to a new team, Kris now with Toyota Gazoo Racing, suffered a puncture and issues with a wheel rim, which ruled him out of overall contention, so from Saturday morning he played a waiting game until the final stage, the Power stage where there are extra points available.

On the Sunday, the final day, there is no service, so Kris drove fast but not over the top as he was saving his tryes for the Power Stage – he played it brilliantly and set the quickest time on the Power Stage picking up an extra five points to help his overall position in the championship – but there was more, it shows how Kris has matured and how fast he is in the Toyota, yes protecting the tyres during the day helped but it’s these marginal gains and looking at the long game that may be the difference at the business end of the season.

Just like Kris and Seb, we are always looking at marginal gains to become even better. Filming, post production, event logistics, we are always looking at how we can improve. The first shoot of the 2019 took us to Catalonia, and the wind played havoc but we stuck at it and conquered the changeable weather.

Prior to the shoot we had trialed a Ronin system to enable us to track cars better. It gave us some base readings but as with all of these things you never really know until you do it for real, (just like Kris on the Power Stage of the Monte).

With the experience we gained on the trial we were able to refine and adapt the settings, the European roads were much smoother than the UK roads that we had trialed the system on – thanks to the hard work of the team the result was brilliant and the footage looks ace.
As always we continue to seek for an edge over our competition by eking out every marginal gain we can whether on location or in our Manchester-based production HQ.

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