WATCH: How they sent a rally car down a foefie slide
Blaenau Ffestiniog, Wales - It started off as an alcohol-fuelled ‘What if?’ session at an awards dinner and became, once the hangovers had cleared, a serious ‘Could it actually be done?’ question.
And in the end what you see in the #Skydriver promotional video for the 2018 Wales Rally GB actually happened - they sent a Ford Fiesta rally car down the Zip World Titan foefie-slide at Slate Mountain in north Wales.
The 85-second video shows a Fiesta S2000 in the livery of the rally sponsor tackling some of the rough Slate Mountain gravel roads that will form two of the special stages of this year’s Wales Rally GB. At one point the route takes it into the start area of the Zip World Titan (which actually has four ziplines side by side, so you can do tighten your sphincter alongside family or friends).
And the next this you see is the car majestically sailing down the valley, suspended from two of the ziplines - right through the end-point and back on to the road, without even slowing down.
But of course it wasn’t as simple as that. To start with, they had to use two cars - one in full rally trim and one standard Ford Fiesta that the rally team bought on e-Bay and gutted. Zip World says its lines are safe to 350kg, which meant the second car had to weigh less than 700kg - i.e. no engine, drivetrain, fuel tank, seats or or interior trim.
The stunt car was then liveried to look exactly like the rally car (although anoraks will note that their wheels are different) and team was ready to roll - or slide, as the case might be - using eight cameras and a drone to capture the action from every angle and hoping to get three usable runs.
They immediately ran into a big problem - the Fiesta came zipping into the landing area about three times faster than a human would, at almost 50km/h, rocking violently from side to side and hitting the ground very hard indeed.
Attempts to operate the brakes of the slides remotely only made the rocking worse because it was almost impossible to apply the brakes evenly on both lines.
So the last few seconds of each run were edited out; in the final cut you see the car coming in fast from about 15 metres out - and then the video cuts to a drone shot, from directly overhead, of the car landing on the road and kicking up dirt from all four wheels, which was achieved simply by pushing the rally car backwards into position and dumping the clutch.
Check out the ‘Making of’ video below to see exactly how they did it, including spectacular unedited footage of the landings: