With unprecedented access, Engineering the World Rally gets under the skin of the Subaru WRC team during the 2006 season. The six-part series follows their every move as they engineer and prepare the cars for each event, test and shakedown. Enjoy the highs and suffer the lows of each three-day rally. It is an emotional rollercoaster of action both behind-the-scenes and on the rally stage.
Episode One: Monte Carlo… or bust?
The year begins with a frantic dash to the start line. It's just days before the Monte Carlo Rally and the Subaru team's new €600,000 car isn't ready. With an annual budget of €50,000,000, and constant pressure from the parent company in Japan to get results, the British-based team goes to extraordinary lengths to develop and improve every aspect of their car's design.
Former champion Petter "Hollywood" Solberg is hoping for a good start to the year with the new car at his least favourite rally. The team's two younger drivers – Chris Atkinson and Stephane Sarrazin – are fighting to win team boss David Lapworth's favour and a long-term contract.
Episode Two: Sweden… Heaven or Hell
Just one week after Monte Carlo, the Subaru Team heads to Sweden for one of the fastest and most spectacular rallies of the year – run on snow and ice. But first, team boss David Lapworth needs to make sure they’ve fixed the problem that eliminated one of the team’s cars in Monte Carlo.
Sweden is driving Heaven and Hell. There's nothing quite like watching these cars hurtle through a sparkling white landscape. But the flipside is the inevitable wreckage. Petter and Chris keep the racing crew busy and their fortunes rise and fall in what turns out to be a very emotional rally.
Episode Three: Argentina… The Big Shake-Up
We rejoin the Subaru team for a long trip to South America. This rally is the king of car-wreckers. The team must be prepared for roads fit for donkeys, for high-speed encounters with large rocks and for charges through deep river crossings.
The team's poor start leads to a big shake up – most significantly the departure of team boss David Lapworth after more than a decade at the helm. Paul Howarth takes over. He started with the team as an apprentice mechanic.
Episode Four: Finland and Germany… The Rough and the Smooth
A break in the action gives the team a chance to get to the bottom of problems with the car's reliability and performance. After the short break, the season's second half jumps into high gear with smooth and rough courses just three days apart.
The smooth is Germany, a tarmac rally notorious for unpredictable weather. The rough is Finland. It is run on gravel roads, is the fastest rally of the year and is famous for massive high-speed jumps.
Episode Five: Japan… Under Pressure
The Subaru team is faced with what is, politically, the most important rally – the 'home' event in Japan. In addition to the added pressure for victory at the manufacturer's home rally, the team confronts a stream of press conferences, public relations events and high level meetings between team leaders and Subaru.
While all this is going on, one man has a different fight on his hands. Driver Chris Atkinson's contract runs out the day after the rally and he's fighting for his place in the team. His bosses make it clear they are considering all options. Japan is Chris' last chance to show he has the potential to be a future racing star.