Timing system dispute fear for Monte Carlo Rally

Further concerns have been cast over the World Rally Championship and next week's opening round, after it emerged that essential timing and tracking equipment might not be available for use on the Monte Carlo Rally

Timing system dispute fear for Monte Carlo Rally

Stage One Technology, the firm which provides timing and tracking systems, has sent the hardware to Valence for the start of the event. But it has subsequently been contacted by North One Sport's legal team in an effort to stop the kit being used due to an ongoing legal battle between the two.

S1T is owed close to £1m by NOS, but the former's managing director Simon de Banke has written to NOS pledging to pay £10,000 for the equipment and to turn his firm into a 100 per cent non-profit organisation with all proceeds of its activities going to the Make A Wish Foundation.

In the letter, de Banke said: "As you know, Stage One Technology is owed a substantial sum of money by North One Sport which has put the jobs of the passionate S1T team, and those of its suppliers on the line. When it became clear that it was unlikely we would be able to be paid, we gave you notice that we would seize the timing and tracking systems in order to at least allow us the opportunity to continue to trade should the worst happen and you were unable to find a firm offer to buy NOS before time ran out.

"Stage One Technology is a small, independent company which employs a team of people - most of which have worked on the WRC systems for most of its 10-year history - who don't care about the politics or the commercials.

"The systems are valueless to you. There is only one team of people in the world who knows how to turn them on! Only two human beings alive who know how to repair them when they go wrong. These people are part of our team."

De Banke went on to insist that the financial wrangling between the two parties is of little interest to him.

"Whilst I will fight to the death to protect my amazing, humble, diligent, professional and hard working people, I do not care to personally profit from this disappointing situation," he said.

"So without prejudice to our current position that we are the party with the best claim to the equipment, I make NOS the following proposal. If by 1pm today (10 January 2012), you write to confirm you will not seek to assert any right, title or interest over these (valueless to you/the creditors of NOS) systems, and that you will not seek any kind of damages against Stage One Technology or its associated companies, staff or directors relating to their continued use and possession of the equipment, I pledge to turn Stage One Technology into a 100 per cent non-profit organisation, which will put absolutely every penny of its profits into worthwhile causes, such as the incredible Make A Wish foundation, to give kids whose daily routine make everything we're dealing with now seem like a weekend in the Bahamas."

NOS was unable to comment on the situation or on the potential for S1T to use the equipment next week, due to its ongoing legal position.

While S1T has provided the World Rally Championship with its tracking and timing equipment for a decade, the Monte Carlo Rally has run with its own systems for the last three years while part of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge. It is understood those same systems are now on standby for next week.

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