WRC Rally de France, held in Strasbourg, 500km east of Paris, a city with so much traffic, so many one way streets, so many blocked streets, you get the picture.
The start of the rally took place in the Strasbourg CBD then stages 100km south, each Heat got closer and closer to Strasbourg.
Rally de France was my 3rd international WRC event this year and my 4th WRC, having just completed Rally Australia and Argentina and Sardinia (Italy) earlier in the year, this however would be very different to Argentina and Sardegna, in Argentina you are dealing with South Americans, very relaxed people, we had an issue once in Argentina with police not allowing us on to the stage, but other than that you can go where you want, stand where you want and with a tabard (vest) you can do what you want as long as it is safe and within the guidelines, Italy was much the same, they are a coffee sipping, vino drinking nation, its in their nature to be relaxed :), France, this wouldn’t be the case.
From what I had heard the French Police were under scrutiny by top officials, they were being watched you could say, so they decided that in order to let the rally go ahead they would be extra difficult, at one point on the final day my pass which was around my neck was grabbed and I was told “no pass, NO PASS!!!” luckily an official was on hand to calm the female officer down and I was allowed to do my job, in other areas according to other photographers the police didn’t were very difficult, officials were also being difficult, to the point where photographers could not do their jobs, I was also told that in the photographers briefing the head of police said in no uncertain terms there would be no deviation from their rules and any media arguing would have their equipment taken off them, not something you want to have to deal with that’s for sure, nevertheless the show went on.
Rallye de France is an all tarmac rally, I hadn’t shot a tarmac rally in over 4 years, you have to shoot it completely different to a dirt rally, its more about the scenery and trying to find bits of road where there is some attitude in the car, on gravel that’s not hard, thankfully the area of Alsace is beautiful so that wasn’t to hard and the time of year was perfect with autumn leaves and soft sunsets.
I was working with Andre and Gergely this round again, both young amazing photographers, so it was great to work with guys who think outside the box, in all honesty though I have found most of the series pass holders are very different and all have their own styles and are all extremely good.
Ok enough chit chat lets let the images do the talking, before that though, Ogier was set to win the championship in France, unfortunately he had car problems and Jari-Matti closed the gap and took the win.
(Photos by Vettas Media and –@World Agency – Michael Vettas/Andre Lavadinho/Gergely Makai)
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