By Hans Erik Naess (auth.)

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Alejandro is the driver, the guide, the fixer … well, the everything on this rally. His local shrewdness (‘the Argentinian way’, according to him) would turn out to be a MacGyverian ability when we were confronted with blocked roads, angry motorists or untrained marshals. Wherever we go we are reminded of the uniqueness of this particular rally, and the 26 A Sociology of the World Rally Championship strong local pride in the town of Villa Carlos Paz, the rally’s focal point just outside Cordoba city, in hosting a WRC event.

The first round of the WRC 2012, the glamorous Monte Carlo Rally, was scheduled for 17–22 January and teams had begun to make preparations. Since the oldest and, for many, most prestigious, event in rallying was making a much-anticipated return to the championship after an enforced sabbatical of three years (see Chapter 4), there was also a lot of lively anticipation among the spectators. Behind the scenes, however, things were heating up. The FIA normally celebrates the heroes of motorsport at the Annual General Assembly (AGA) and PrizeGiving Gala from 5–9 December.

With ISC’s main innovator, David Richards, occupied with his new role as manager for the BAR Formula 1 team, ISC consequently revised its entire strategy by closing down its marketing department and emphasising sales operations exclusively. A few years later, in early 2007, ISC consolidated its relationship with Sportfive and its extensive international sales network, ‘dedicated to securing new distribution agreements, to optimise the media exposure for WRC on a global level’ (WRC Fact book, 2008, p.

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