What are rally races?

Rally racing, or just rally, is a motorsport that takes place on closed sections of the road. All races are against the clock. Each vehicle has a driver and a passenger and the cars must be road legal. It also takes place on a variety of surfaces, from snow to gravel to tarmac and everything in between.

Rally or Race 

For those not involved in the sport, we apply more circuit racing logic. That is, all cars start at the same time and finish at a checkered flag after circling a circuit. However, rally racing is completely different from circuit racing. 

Fire or Ice?

For starters, there are surfaces and conditions. A rally can take place on the loose gravel of Perth or the snowy roads of Sweden. You can find mud, ice, tarmac, or any combination in one event, they have to master driving on so many different surfaces. 

Rally drivers do it in stages

Rallies are also divided into stages. There are special closed road stages (the action we see in the videos) and there are transport sections between stages called a link. The connection usually takes place on public roads and participants must obey normal traffic rules.

Tic Tac

Rally racing is all about one clock. In a special stage, the driver and co-driver try to set the fastest time together. When not racing on the stage, each car must be in each section by a specified time. 

Sections are limited by timing controls. Officials punish when cars aren’t in control when they should be. The most important thing to remember is that you are racing against the clock and not against anyone.

Difference between race cars and rally cars 

Race and rally cars may look similar on the outside, but they are quite different. Racing cars are based on production cars, while Formula 1 racing cars have nothing to do with a showroom model. Rally cars must also be street legal as they are driven on public roads. Lights, wipers, gauges, and horns are all necessary equipment.

Racing cars have two seats. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are many other differences as well from the suspension to the engines and brakes.

Car repairs 

The event organizers will allocate specific times and locations for work on rally cars. These breaks that mark the race are called serves. It is the only time the team (service team) can work on a car. If something is needed in the car out of order, it is up to the driver and passenger to work on the car themselves.

How to win a rally 

In order to win a rally race, the driver and co-driver must have the lowest total time on all special stages. That doesn’t mean they have to win every stage, it means they have to have the lowest overall time for the event. Amazingly, even over hundreds of miles of racing and multiple days, a rally can be won in under a second!

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