SFP, Europsport Deliver First Live Coverage of Monte Carlo Rally

By Kevin Hilton

SVG Europe editor

The 77th Monte Carlo Rally concluded this past weekend and was significant for the return of night stages and the first live TV coverage in its history. Host broadcaster Eurosport covered seven of the 14 stages of the famed event as it happened, including the four that make up the climax of the race on the treacherous Col de Turini mountain pass.

Eurosport tested its capability for live rallying coverage during the Valais rally in Switzerland in October. An OB truck supplied by SFP of France was used for both events. Uplink facilities were provided by another French company, Films du Soleil of Marseilles. These included three SNG tri-camera vans, two SNG mono cameras, and an uplinking vehicle for the international feed.

The original plan had been for approximately four hours of live coverage, but Eurosport ended up broadcasting six hours 15 minutes of live action. This was covered by one helicopter Wescam, one camera at the start of stages, one at a mid point, four for the Col de Turini, three at the arrival point, and three in the Service Park in Monaco. There were also four ENG cameras for the other stages, but the compelling footage came from the 10 on-board RF cameras, which gave an unnerving sense of being in a high-performance rally car as it swung around narrow, twisting ice-covered roads.

Highlights and news packages were assembled by three video editors and a producer working at the Service Park, which was in Valence, France, during the early stages and then moved to Monaco for the climax. All transmissions were in widescreen standard-definition.

The Monte Carlo Rally, won this year by reigning junior world rally champion Sebastian Ogier, is the first event in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, which is organised by FIA and began in 2006. Eurosport is the television partner and plans to provide live coverage of three more IRC rallies this year, including the climax to the season, the RAC MSA Rally of Scotland Nov. 19-21.