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Marcus Grönholm & Timo Rautiainen, Ford Focus WRC, Rally Sweden 2007
Marcus Grönholm & Timo Rautiainen, Ford Focus WRC, Rally Sweden 2007
Grönholm's Snowdance.jpg
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Tommi, Marcus, Carlos, Petter...

Bruno's Blog, from a fan for fans!

Pre-Helsinki Battle 2014 press conference
Clockwise from top left: Michel Nandan, Juho Hänninen, Thierry Neuville, Marcus Grönholm, Mads Östberg, Juha Kankkunen, Pekka Koski, a Ford-dude, Mikko Hirvonen, Tommi Mäkinen, Jari-Matti Latvala, Marku Alèn, Sebastien Ogier, Jost Capito

Welcome back to my blog, thanks.

 

At the end of my last blog, I spoke about the consequences of the first officially licensed WRC game. And here's the background story:


As you can imagine, the biggest impact made the in-game video clips. Every driver and each country was introduced with one breathtaking sequence. First time ever I got to know all the names of the actual drivers and co-drivers. Another fact popped to my eyes: compared with the overall amount of drivers, the Finns were very strongly represented... Interesting, especially when considering Finland's population size.


The gameplay was fantastic, especially the in-car ego perspective! It goes without saying that I switched all on-screen informations off, only the co-driver's pacenotes came to my headphones. I felt like a real WRC star and the stage replays showed me how talented driver I was... 

Under my control, every Finn won the championship at least once. The only exceptions were

four times world rally champion Tommi Mäkinen and one tall farmer from Inkoo, Marcus Grönholm. These guys won more championships under my control than the Sebastiens (Loeb & Ogier) together. This was the time when I got hooked on Finland... Of course I didn't realize that back then...


I loved playing this game so much, I told all my workmates at Pilatus Aircraft. 

Yes, you're right, well observed! Since January 2000, I had a new job. I switched from CNC machines to Aircraft cockpits which I assembled, integrated and tested for the legendary PC12 and PC7 MkII. A new challenge and new workmates.

This time it was my turn to spread the virus of playstation gaming. My enthusiasm for Evolution Studio's masterpiece of coding was the topic these wintery days before Christmas 2001. Needless to say that I had found out a while ago which of my workmates were interested in motorsport most. One of these guy's was... Let's call him "Beda". It makes things now and in the future much easier because his real name actually is Beda. :-D


He was highly interested in the stories about my favorite game and therefore he asked me where I live. He had never visited me before at home but was about to change that: To see is to believe.

These days I lived in a farm house at the end of a long dead end road, a few kilometers outside our village, almost half way up on one of our Central Switzerland's mountains. Some would even say in the middle of nowhere, but for me it was the most beautiful place I've ever lived. The view from up there over the villages nearby and Lake Lucerne was just breathtaking. At that time, it was dark when I left home and it was dark when I returned from work. The only light near and far was the illuminated Christmas tree in our yard.


One evening, I remember as it was yesterday, I was just about to go to bed, the clock was around 23:30, the doorbell rang. Can you imagine how shocked I was? Who's going to ring my doorbell at that time, at the end of a dead end road, out in the sticks? There is only one reasonable explanation: Something very bad must had happened and the police wanted me to know....


The surprise couldn't had been bigger when I ran down the stairs and opened the main door: Beda... What the hell brought him here at this time of the day?

You probably guess the answer: the illuminated spruce!

The reason for his late visit was obvious and going to bed was no option anymore.

Beda got infected immediately and in conclusion, we ended up driving rally stages all around the world until almost four o'clock in the morning...  We decided to continue our rally chat three hours later at work...


This was only the beginning of hundreds of hours gaming WRC throughout the next years.

Countless evenings and weekends we spent together in my living room, sitting on the couch, staring to the 2x2 meter silver screen where a projector made our rally world alive.

We always started with a randomly chosen country and stage and the previous game session's winner had to set a time. Then the controller was forwarded and either Beda or I played until the time was beaten. Then controller change again and so on...


After the real WRC season had kicked off with the Rally Monte Carlo on January, we followed the TV coverage and the summaries on Eurosport. We saw one of our 2 favorite Finns winning the Monte, Tommi Mäkinen. I admit there was a small difference between the "photorealistic" game graphics and the real footage of Tommi celebrating on the most beautiful rally car (in my humble opinion) of the modern area (after Group B). And most important: The action was mind-blowing! These guys were artists! They ignored and bent the laws of physics in every corner... Suddenly, watching Formula One had lost a lot of its attraction... Beda and I became rally addicts! 


Though rally is the second most viewed 4-wheel motorsport worldwide, Eurosport's policy was to broadcast it very late at night and way too often after "Snooker live"... This fact had taught me everything about Snooker. I still remember the moments when these live sessions didn't want to come to an end (too often for my taste) and then the rally special was kicked out of program. That was the moment I started hating Snooker... Generally, men with balls are okay abut I wanted to see men with balls of steel! ;-)

If Eurosport's schedule wasn't mixed up with mostly red balls on a big green table, I loved watching the cars and stars I knew from the game. 


Unfortunately I can't show you any pictures from these happenings, sorry. 

Back then I didn't have a mobile phone (I was the only one all around) nor any other camera. Photography was a concept I didn't understand and a camera was a mysterious black box with a glass eye. It was better not to touch it even though my brother in law and my favorite uncle were talented hobby photographers.

After playing the first game of this new franchise for months, Beda and I knew all stages by heart and our best times were so advanced that we couldn't beat them anymore.

The only thing we did then was waiting for the launch of the new WRC game in November 2002. We were stuck in Groundhog day and happy with that. ;-)


Over all the years, rally has always connected me with people. Thanks to his curiosity and the WRC game, we spent sooooo many great times together, Beda became one of my closest friends and definitely my first and best Swiss rally friend. 


After another year full of thrilling battles in my living room, WRC 3 was pre-ordered and in my mail box on the day of release. Do I need to say how Beda and I celebrated that long-awaited moment?


It was like all the previous years except one thing...


What was different on that evening near the end of year 2003?


Find out in my next blog, coming soon. :-)


High octane greetings and Uf Wiederluege!


-Bruno-