Your impression? A lot of years in IRC and ERC. What was the most exciting and the most interesting in your team job?
JB: I would say, every single day of the last 15 years was incredible. We had 7 seasons in the IRC – 70 rallies, 22 countries, 4 continents. When we took over the promotion of ERC, we moved for 9 seasons, 80 rallies, 17 different countries. So, it was an incredible story. And on top of what we have achieved in terms of championship promotion it was a real human story. Incredible team from Eurosport, incredible competitors. What’s both Alexeys have brought to the championship over the last six years – you can feel the passion. There are spectators everywhere on the side if the road. It was a lot of emotions; they are so strong that it’s not easy for me to speak. I don’t have any bad memories.
How did you call the team together? Where did the specialists come from?
JB: We’ve started all together when we were very young. I was not part of the IRC time, but most of my team – they were together during IRC period. I had the privilege to take over the promotion when we moved to ERC. The biggest part of the team was already existing. And then over the last nine years it was just to put a bit of oil in the gears so that everything was working well. My team was so professional, so good at work, so motivated – you cannot imagine. It was incredible to lead them.
What decisions are you proud of?
JB: When we took over ERC in 2013, there was not really a European rally championship. It was a necessitation of a very nice rally over Europe, there was no connection from one rally to another one. Competitors were not playing on a fully season basis. The thing for which we are so proud is that now ERC has a real identity. Organizing the rallies, we have more than 60 competitors that come from the European Rally Championship – it has never happened before. My biggest achievement, I think, is building an entry list. Without the strong list of competitors, you can’t work in terms of television. Of course, I was not always perfect, but the actual balance is very in accordance with capacities in terms of budget. We are at the Canarias at the end of November – it’s incredible. We have the Azores, Pole and Barum – very strong rallies.
JB: I feel that it’s an end of the story. The book is now closed. We’ll reopen a new book. We don’t have a feeling that we’re doing the things perfectly. We give the keys of ERC to WRC promoters in a very good shape at the moment. Entry list is there, the calendar is strong, the motivation from the teams and competitors is very strong, so I think that we leave ERC in a very good condition. I cannot speak on behalf of the WRC promoters. For sure, they have plenty of new plans and new wishes to develop ERC.
Will it be a new team?
JB: In fact, FIA has decided to reorganize the championship distribution, naming only one promoter. Rally specialists will take all the rally pyramid, I mean, WRC + ERC and rally cross – it’s the rally family. Eurosport Events is becoming now Discovery Sport Events, cause, you know, Eurosport is a part of Discovery. We have relationships with FIA and becoming the new promoter for all electrical service. We have launched this year a Pure ETCA – an electric touring car championship which is now from 2022 on behalf of FIA. In two years from now we are launching an electric GT championship and Discovery is a part of Liberty Media – the owner of Formula E. So, for FIA Discovery is now an electric specialist. It’s not planned that some people will move from Eurosport Events to the WRC promoter.