Case Study: MIMO-3 used in Sertoes 2020 Rally

Neil Woolridge Motorsport (NWM) is a specialist cross country race car manufacturer and provider based in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.

NVM’s vehicle are used in rallys worldwide and we recently supplied our MIMO vehicle mount antenna for them to evaluate.  In the MIMO-3-15 enclosure is the following antennas: 2X2 MIMO LTE, 2X2 MIMO Wi-Fi & GPS / GLONASS.

This antenna was mounted on the X Rally Team support vehicle. We want to thank the X Rally Team who wrote the article below:

“Sertões Rally is the largest rally in the American continent. The 28th edition was held from October 30th to November 7th, racing 5,000km across Brazil, starting from São Paulo to Maranhão states.

This year’s Sertões included 403 vehicles and 1,500 participants. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, every stage and camping site of the race were isolated from local communities and camping locations were disclosed only in the previous day only to participants.

The Background

X Rally Team

X Rally Team was founded in 1999 by the Baumgart Brothers, Cristian and Marcos. The desire to compete in one of the most difficult, long, and demanding rallies in the world made the team move towards evolution and the results did not take long to come. The first title in the Prototype class was in Sertões 2006. Since then, X Rally Team has collected 4 championships in the T1 FIA class for 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2020.

The Challenge

Sertões Rally crosses 5 Brazilian states in a wide variety of scenarios such as farms, national parks, side roads and all sorts of pavements. Racing in such remote areas, make it very difficult to guarantee stable connectivity from mobile operators, especially for Support Vehicles (Chase Cars) who constantly need good communication to provide immediate assistance to racing cars when necessary ¹. In the case of Sertões, it is almost certain that regular mobile phones will be on “No Service” mode after some minutes of driving from the camping site.

X Rally Team needed a solution that would improve connectivity in race support cars in terms of the following:

  1. Antenna gain to be able to connect with distant mobile operator towers;
  2. Operator diversity to obtain service from the nearest possible provider ².

Success would be determined by a simple factor. X Rally Team knew that in past races it was necessary to drive an average of 40km to be able to connect with a mobile operator to receive updates in regular smartphones. Anything that could reduce this “offline time” would be a great benefit.


Seeking for the best antenna provider, X Rally Team contacted POYNTING to describe the challenge. POYNTING’s MIMO-3-15 series antenna was recommended as appropriate for vehicle installation, great gain, and compatibility with existing 2G, 3G and 4G service frequencies. The selected router was a Teltonika RUT955 Dual SIM device with 5 antenna inputs (2 for mobile, 2 for WiFi and 1 for GPS). The router was configured to switch SIM cards if either reception was poor or network service. The solution was installed in the Team’s Chief chase car, a rental VW Amarok. No modifications in the car were necessary, with the router seating in the trunk and the antenna fixed in the roof with magnets.

¹ Major applications utilized are Whatsapp messaging (text and audio) and web browsing for following race cars GPS location. Race tracking is provided by the race organizer.

² Brazil has 4 major mobile operators (Vivo, Claro, Oi, TIM). Service coverage varies according to each state. Looking at number of towers on each state, it was possible to roughly determine that Vivo and Claro could have the best coverage in the rally areas.

The Result

The solution changed the experience of the Team’s Chief in managing the race completely. He said: “I was never so well connected in a race before”. For the first time, the satellite phone was not necessary to be activated. POYNTING’s MIMO-3-15 adapted perfectly to the Brazilian conditions, providing best effort connectivity either in 2G, 3G or 4G. We noted that the recent 4G 700MHz service deployment in rural Brazilian areas, was a frequent choice for the MIMO-3-15/RUT 955 set. There were areas where service was unavailable, however it required just a couple of minutes’ drive to be online again, according to router’s log files.

Mission accomplished! X Rally Team won the First, Second and Third positions of the Sertões 2020 Rally. X Rally Team would like to congratulate and thank POYNTING for the prompt reply to our challenge, quick delivery of the test antenna and overall great quality of its products. Hope to see you again in Sertões 2021.

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