I spent a day in Rally Control, despatching aircraft around the sands and working alongside the staff who answer the radio when a car or quad tells us they’ve crashed, even before the driver gets in touch. Its sort of like Minority Report, except instead of crimes bein solved, its broken collarbones.
The team have (because this is an FIA event) a heavily French influence and they lean close to the mike – “Allo? Allo?” It all feels terribly WWII, especially when I find a screen in the laptop that lets me slide aircraft around on the map like some sort of operations directing croupier.
The racers talk to Control a lot. Typically to say things like “Don’t send the helicopter to me, its only a broken arm, I’ll gaffer tape it to the handlebars and ride home”.
I wish I was exaggerating for effect.
The technology that runs the place is astonishing. When one recovery truck wanders off course and drifts close to the Saudi border, we’re able to zoom *right* in and find that he is, in fact, a comfortable eight feet from an international incident.
Its nothing like the satellite systems we have at work that frequently forget where you are and direct you through rows of tenements.
And there were other perks too. Like a day in an air conned building.
And the nice man from the FIA who brought us iced coffee and Haagen Dazs.
I can see why Patch and Gus stay there…