Review: Engineering the World Rally DVD
First seen on the Discovery channel in 2007, this six-part documentary follows the fortunes of the Subaru World Rally Team in 2006. Along the way the team deals with engine failures, punctures, brake failures, crashes, a string of transmission problems, disagreements with the tyre supplier, elusive handling problems and plain bad luck.
The story of Subaru's disastrous season – the 'year from hell' – is told in detail thanks to amazing behind-the-scenes access to Prodrive's base at Banbury and to the team at each event which brings home the attention to detail and sheer commitment demanded of a WRC team. In-car footage from the Subarus and their rivals – Marcus Grönholm's Ford Focus and Sébastien Loeb's Citroen Xsara – is used extensively. Rather than attempting to cover the entire 16-round WRC season the series concentrates on seven key events in the 2006 season – Monte Carlo, Argentina, Sweden, the back-to-back events in Germany and Finland, Japan and the season finale in Wales.
The series includes interviews with Subaru drivers Petter Solberg, Chris Atkinson and Stéphane Sarrazin, plus Solberg's co-driver Phil Mills, team managers David Lapworth and Paul Howarth, sporting director Luis Moya, engineer John Farrall, test driver Terry Kaby and many other team personnel.
Engineering the World Rally pulls off the trick of being informative, detailed and technically accurate while still being fast-paced, dramatic and revealing. The production isn't perfect – there were some minor issues with sound levels on our review DVD, there's an obvious editing error in the final episode and we cringed at the pronunciations of some of the Scandinavian drivers' names on the commentary – but rally fans will be too absorbed in the story to really notice.
Engineering the World Rally is a double DVD with six episodes and a running time of nearly five hours. It costs £24.99 (delivery free) direct from the producers, The Gamma Project.