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The world's safest rally relies on Virve

When a rally competition combines high-speed cars with 300,000 visitors, smooth communication and co-operation between the event organization and public authorities is essential. As a world class rally, the Neste Rally Finland requires world class communication to keep things running safely.

Rally car going fast in Neste Rally 2017
For this grand prix event in the World Rally Championship, the organizers once again used Finland’s national TETRA radio network (VIRVE) and Airbus terminals for efficient, reliable communications.

VIRVE – trust and flexibility

The rally’s security personnel have relied on VIRVE since 2001. Enormous crowds, heavy traffic and a strict timetable call for the kind of trustworthy yet flexible communications that only TETRA can provide. Neste Rally Finland has been named rally of the year by FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) for several years, and safety and good communications played a significant role in this success.

“This year was excellent again – no serious incidents and that satisfies our security organization,” says Jari Wilén, Head of Security for the rally. He really knows what this means as he has been head of security since the rally first started using TETRA in 2001. “Skillful staff, good event organization and well working communication tools makes the rally real safe,” states Jari Wilén.

The rally becomes the country’s most important annual sporting event on the first day, when over 16,000 visitors arrive at the Jyväskylä to watch the Harju City Special Stage. “This year, we designed a more comprehensive security plan due the latest global developments and the high number of spectators in this tight city area,” Wilén explains.

Hundreds of TETRA radios were employed across the event, with the rally organization itself using about 150 Airbus radio terminals. Users included rally management, the rally security team, safety cars, helicopters, ambulances, medical rescue teams and special stage leaders. TETRA radios were mostly used for voice communication but also were also effective in delivering a medical team’s status as a quick message as situations changed.

Each special stage has a dedicated crew operating its own talk group and concentrating solely on that special stage while sharing rally’s security talk group. The Emergency Response Centre also had a dedicated workstation acting as a special rally point, constantly scanning the security talk group.

“We use the same nationwide TETRA network as public authorities to secure co-operation and communication between the rally organization and public services. This makes for smooth and seamless cooperation and it operated well,” Wilén continues.

Better and faster help through apps

Even if things are done well, there is always room for improvement. “We are handling the event well with the TETRA radios we have, but more radios would be useful on the stages and with the security managers,” Wilén says. “The new communication features with data services such as pictures, video clips, and applications would give emergency and security staff a better understanding of how situations are developing and ensure they can provide better help more quickly.”

As the head of rally security, Jari Wilén is looking to the future with a positive, safety-based approach, supported by the highly capable VIRVE TETRA network.