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Moscow Raceway

At each meeting of the World Series by Renault the organisation must be spot on. With all the sideshows and hospitality structures for the paddock, the teams’ transporters and all the cars, a huge convoy hits the road for each event. For the one on the Moscow Raceway it turned out to be an epic trip!

To make things easier for the trip to Moscow Renault Sport and its partner RPM decided to link this meeting with the one at the Nürburgring; the theory being that by leaving from Germany the teams’ and organisers’ transporters would have an easier route. But crossing Europe with 40-ton transporters isn’t an easy job. Even if a part of the journey was by boat from the North of Germany to Latvia, the state of some of the Russian roads and the problems clearing customs all added to what was already a perillous journey.

“There weren’t many boats providing the liaison we needed. We had to arrive on time and then wait for the moment of departure,” explained Hugues Sénécal, the man in charge of Racing Logistics, which transport part of the buildings/tents in the World Series by Renault village as well as the equipment used for technical checks. “Once we got our convoy on the boat, we had a 29-hour trip in front of us!”

When the WSR transporters arrived in Riga they then had to cover several hundred kilometers to reach the Moscow Raceway, about 80 km before Moscow. First of all, bringing transporters full of equipment into Russia was a pretty complicated business. “Luckily, RPM had done a great job and had organised things well by making up convoys of ten lorries with Russian cars at the head plus an interpreter,” continued Sénécal. “But it took the customs a hell of a long time to check everything! Luckily, our transporter had all the right home comforts, and we were connected to the local water supply so we were able to live normally during the fifteen hours’ wait!”

The initial contacts with the locals weren’t always easy. The route ran thorough out-of-the-way places, and the local population was amazed to see such huge lorries suddenly arriving out of nowhere. “We also had problems making ourselves understood,” added Thierry who is in charge of the Renault Sport spare parts service. “It was very difficult to ask for a room for the night or a hot meal. We didn’t speak Russian and they didn’t understand English. Even filling up with fuel was a story in itself!”

After entering Russia there were more surprises in store for the World Series by Renault convoy. The trip was more like a rally raid on roads whose surface varied from tarmac to gravel and was full of pot holes that sometimes brought the 40-ton transporters to a grinding halt. “Tyres punctured or exploded and the lorries themselves suffered; it was really difficult. But everybody pitched in together to help us keep going. Finally, we all made it within the deadlines, and we were able to set up shop at the circuit in good time to get everything ready for the entrants and spectators.”

After the successful meeting the teams had to undertake a new trip in the opposite direction as the majority of teams and lorries went back to Western Europe. “Since our departure for the Nürburgring and our return to France the journey lasted a month and a half,” said Sénécal. “It’s very long. In such conditions you have to make sure you can be self-sufficient and make provision for what you need during such a long voyage, from clothes down your own personal everyday needs.”

After this summer trip the World Series by Renault paddock will have a well-deserved break before setting out for Silverstone (not part of the WSR meetings) at the end of August, and then Budapest in mid-September.

Official Renault Sport Press Release.

Posted: 27 July 2012
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