In the second part of our Behind the Curtain of the Škoda Motorsport series, we find out how team logistics works. What are the challenges of taking a green and white caravan to all corners of Europe for testing? Jan Přindiš, one of the team's logisticians, will share with us not only this but many other interesting facts as well.
Rallying is a sport that involves constant transfers. Packing and planning a family holiday is a nightmare for many people, but imagine having to send a group of several dozen people, a truck, facilities, and of course not forgetting any spare parts for a test car hundreds of miles away. That's why flawless logistics is one of the key areas which the success of the car, and indeed the entire Škoda Motorsport team, depends on. Just to give you an idea, in 2022, when the development of the new Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 was in full swing, the team completed more than 15 different multi-day tests across Europe. In addition to the usual agenda (VIP events, business trips and customer support), it was a real extra workload for the two-man logistics team. However, in the days when Škoda Motorsport had its own factory team, the logistical planning was even more demanding. Back then, the logistics team consisted of five workers.
Preparations can take months
Choosing the right tracks is extremely important as the track needs to be appropriate for the test. The requirement for the type of track comes from the Škoda Motorsport Technical group. Some locations are already known from previous tests. However, if new tracks are selected, the local organiser will usually offer several options, which are then evaluated. If necessary, one of the Škoda Motorsport engineers can travel to the recommended location and personally check the suitability of the track. It is also important to provide space at the test location for the team's service facilities, where the truck and other supporting equipment, including tents for the development team engineers and catering tents, need to be located. The actual length of preparation for the test can vary considerably. In some foreign locations, local permits can be processed in just a few days. This is usually the case for private or closed areas and circuits. On the other hand, there are also places where the necessary permits take up to 3 months to process. If we talk about an average test in Spain, for example, it takes about 3-4 weeks to prepare for the test. During those weeks, the logistics department, in cooperation with the local organiser and, of course, colleagues from the Škoda Motorsport team, arranges all the above-mentioned details of the test and much more.
All roads lead to Škoda Motorsport
Planning a journey is also a bit more complicated for the team logistics team than if you and your family were to drive to Croatia, for example. The movements of the truck and other accompanying equipment are planned to make the journey as smooth as possible and to arrange it at a reasonable cost. And sometimes that can be a real challenge, especially with truck transport. For example, for the tests in Greece, the choice is to travel by ferry from Italy. In general, logisticians plan routes to travel through EU countries where complex transport documents are not required. The transport of fuel to the tests, for example, is quite specific. This is handled by an external freight forwarding company with a licence to transport this type of cargo. And even buying tickets in advance is not always a sure bet either. Occasionally, an airline cancels or delays a flight with no reason given, and there is no time to change planes, which is a significant complication in the case of mass movements of personnel. However, there has never been a case of someone not getting to where they needed to go even if with some potential delay.
Movement schedule with all information
All important information regarding the test or event is written in a comprehensive form in the "Movement Schedule". This is the internal name of the main logistics document that is created before each event. All the information is listed here - who will be going to the event, what their tasks are, the list of cars that will be used (not only rally cars, but also service trucks and vans, or personal service cars or cars from local rental companies). The document also contains information about flights (or trains or ferries), accommodation and GPS coordinates of the main event locations, such as service facilities for tests, service parks during the rally, etc. Last but not least, the document contains a section called "Timetable" which details who is to be where, when and how they will be travelling. This detailed information ensures that the team's movements run as smoothly as possible. All nominated team members have the document available approximately a week before the event.
Impeccable logistics is simply a crucial factor for success in motorsport and rallying in particular. That's why you can be sure that the green and white Škoda Motorsport caravan will always be on time and in full numbers on the other side of Europe. Logistics colleagues Jan Přindiš or Marek Masopust will see to it personally.