And if you look down the service area on Rally Italia Sardegna, the chefs have been busy preparing all sorts of delicacies for their drivers. Some preferences are more unusual than others: Swedish driver Kenneth Eriksson, for example, always used to claim that mashed fish livers were his favourite sandwich filling. Nice.
Chris Atkinson, currently fifth on the FIA World Rally Championship counter in a MINI John Cooper Works WRC, has more conservative tastes: for lunch he prefers grilled chicken and rice. No sauce, no dessert; not even any vegetables: just the chicken and rice.
“I could go for something a bit more gourmet,” he said in Olbia, “but then I might be throwing up all afternoon.”
There’s a pleasant mental image, and one that MINI’s French chef, Celine, would not be happy to contemplate. With a French chef and an Italian team, Atko should be in food heaven. Instead, he says that the slow-burn energy release of plain chicken and rice is exactly what he needs to perform at his best. Maybe he should feed some to his MINI too, which he hasn’t been entirely happy with since the start of the event.
“Chicken and rice is very balanced: it gives you energy without making you feel bloated,” he explains. “I don’t tend to eat that much when I’m on rallies, but chicken is one of my favourites.”
So there you have it. If it’s really true that you are what you eat, you’ll find Atko wandering round the service park this evening, laying eggs and going “cluck”.