RALLYING is a form of motorsport that takes place on public or private roads with modified production or specially built road-legal cars. It is distinguished by running not on a circuit , but instead in a point-to-point format in which participants and their co-drivers drive between set control points (special stages ), leaving at regular intervals from one or more start points. Rallies may be won by pure speed within the stages or alternatively by driving to a predetermined ideal journey time within the stages.
* 1 History
* 1.1 Pre-World War I era * 1.2 Interwar years * 1.3 Post-World War II years * 1.4 Outside Europe * 1.5 Intercontinental rallying * 1.6 Modern times * 1.7 Rally car evolution * 1.8 Drivers
* 2 Rally types * 3 Rally courses * 4 Pacenotes and reconnaissance * 5 Historic rallying * 6 Film * 7 Rally driving techniques * 8 See also * 9 References * 10 External links
PRE-WORLD WAR I ERA
The term "rally", as a branch of motorsport , probably dates from the
Monte Carlo Rally
The first of these great races was the
of June 1895, won by
Paul Koechlin in a Peugeot, despite arriving 11
From 24 September-3 October 1895, the Automobile Club de France
sponsored the longest race to date, a 1,710 km (1,060 mi) event, from
Paris–Madrid race of May 1903, the Mors of Fernand Gabriel
(fr) took just under five and a quarter hours for the 550 km (340 mi)
to Bordeaux, an average of 105 km/h (65.3 mph). Speeds had now far
outstripped the safe limits of dusty highways thronged with spectators
and open to other traffic, people and animals; there were numerous
crashes, many injuries and eight deaths. The French government stopped
the race and banned this style of event. From then on, racing in
Europe (apart from Italy) would be on closed circuits, initially on
long loops of public highway and then, in 1907, on the first
purpose-built track, England's
One of the earliest of road races, the Tour de France of 1899, was to have a long history, running 18 times as a reliability trial between 1906 and 1937, before being revived in 1951 by the Automobile Club de Nice (fr).
Italy had been running road competitions since 1895, when a
reliability trial was run from
In Britain, the legal maximum speed of 12 mph (19 km/h) precluded
road racing, but in April and May 1900, the Automobile Club of Great
Britain (the forerunner of the Royal Automobile Club) organised the
Thousand Mile Trial, a 15-day event linking Britain's major cities, in
order to promote this novel form of transport. Seventy vehicles took
part, the majority of them trade entries. They had to complete
thirteen stages of route varying in length from 43 to 123 miles (69 to
198 km) at average speeds of up to the legal limit of 12 mph (19
km/h), and tackle six hillclimb or speed tests. On rest days and at
lunch halts, the cars were shown to the public in exhibition halls.
This was followed in 1901 by a five-day trial based in Glasgow The
Scottish Automobile Club organised an annual Glasgow–London non-stop
trial from 1902 to 1904, then the Scottish Reliability Trial from
1905. The Motor Cycling Club allowed cars to enter its trials and
runs from 1904 (London–
In Germany, the Herkomer Trophy was first held in 1905, and again in 1906. This challenging five-day event attracted over 100 entrants to tackle its 1,000 km (620 mi) road section, a hillclimb and a speed trial, but sadly it was marred by poor organisation and confusing regulations. One participant had been Prince Henry of Austria, who was inspired to do better, so he enlisted the aid of the Imperial Automobile Club of Germany to create the first Prinz Heinrich Fahrt (Prince Henry Trial) in 1908. Another trial was held in 1910. These were very successful, attracting top drivers and works cars from major teams – several manufacturers added "Prince Henry" models to their ranges. The first Alpine Trial was held in 1909, in Austria; by 1914, this was the toughest event of its kind, producing a star performance from Britain's James Radley in his Rolls-Royce Alpine Eagle .
Then in 1911 came the first
Monte Carlo Rally
Two ultra long distance challenges took place at this time. The
Peking-Paris of 1907 was not officially a competition, but a "raid",
the French term for an expedition or collective endeavour whose
promoters, the newspaper "Le Matin", rather optimistically expected
participants to help each other; it was 'won' by Prince Scipione
Borghese, Luigi Barzini, and Ettore Guizzardi in an
The First World War brought a lull to rallying. The Monte Carlo Rally
was not resuscitated until 1924, but since then, apart from World War
II and its aftermath, it has been an annual event and remains a
regular round of the
World Rally Championship
In the 1920s, numerous variations on the Alpine theme sprang up in
Austria, Italy, France, Switzerland and Germany. The most important of
these were Austria's Alpenfahrt, which continued into its 44th edition
in 1973, Italy's Coppa delle Alpi, and the Coupe Internationale des
Alpes (International Alpine Trial), organised jointly by the
automobile clubs of Italy, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and,
latterly, France. This last event, run from 1928 to 1936, attracted
strong international fields vying for an individual Glacier Cup or a
team Alpine Cup, including successful
The French started their own Rallye des Alpes Françaises in 1932, which continued after World War II as the Rallye International des Alpes, the name often shortened to Coupe des Alpes. Other important rallies started between the wars included Britain's RAC Rally (1932) and Belgium's Liège-Rome-Liège, officially called "Le Marathon de la Route" (1931), two events of radically different character; the former a gentle tour between cities from various start points, "rallying" at a seaside resort with a series of manoeuvrability and car control tests; the latter a thinly disguised road race over some of Europe's toughest mountain roads.
In Ireland, the first Ulster Motor Rally (1931) was run from multiple
starting points. After several years in this format, it transitioned
into the 1,000-mile (1,600 km)
Circuit of Ireland Rally . In Italy,
Benito Mussolini 's government encouraged motorsport of all kinds and
facilitated road racing, so the sport quickly restarted after World
War I. In 1927 the
The Liège of August 1939 was the last major event before World War
II. Belgium's Ginet Trasenster (
POST-WORLD WAR II YEARS
Initially, most of the major postwar rallies were fairly gentlemanly,
but the organisers of the French Alpine and the Liège (which moved
its turning point from Rome into Yugoslavia in 1956) straight away set
difficult time schedules: the Automobile Club de Marseille et Provence
laid on a long tough route over a succession of rugged passes, stated
that cars would have to be driven flat out from start to finish, and
gave a coveted
Coupe des Alpes
The Liège continued as uncompromisingly an open road event run to an
impossible time schedule, and remained Europe's toughest rally until
1964, by which time it had turned to the wilds of Yugoslavia and
Bulgaria to find traffic-free roads; but in the end the pressures were
Coupe des Alpes
These events were road races in all but name, but in Italy such races
were still allowed, and the
RAC Rally had formally become an International event in 1951, but
Britain's laws precluded the closure of public highways for special
stages. This meant it had to rely on short manoeuvrability tests,
regularity sections and night map-reading navigation to find a winner,
which made it unattractive to foreign crews. In 1961, Jack Kemsley was
able to persuade the
Forestry Commission to open their many hundreds
of miles of well surfaced and sinuous gravel roads, and the event was
transformed into one of the most demanding and popular in the
calendar, by 1983 having over 600 miles (970 km) of stage. It is now
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Checkpoint during the 1973 Safari Rally
In countries where there was no shortage of demanding roads across
remote terrain, other events sprang up. In South America, the biggest
of these took the form of long distance city to city races, each of
around 5,000 to 6,000 miles (8,000–9,500 km), divided into daily
legs. The first was the Gran Premio del Norte of 1940, run from Buenos
In Africa, 1950 saw the first French-run Méditerranée-le Cap, a
10,000-mile (16,000 km) rally from the Mediterranean to
Canada hosted one of the world's longest and most gruelling rallies in the 1960s, the Shell 4000 Rally. It was also the only one sanctioned by FIA in North America.
The quest for longer and tougher events saw the re-establishment of the intercontinental rallies beginning with the London–Sydney Marathon held in 1968. The rally trekked across Europe, the Middle-East and the sub-continent before boarding a ship in Bombay to arrive in Fremantle eight days later before the final push across Australia to Sydney. The huge success of this event saw the creation of the World Cup Rallies, linked to Association Football's FIFA World Cup. The first was the 1970 London to Mexico World Cup Rally which saw competitors travel from London eastwards across to Bulgaria before turning westwards on a more southerly route before boarding a ship in Lisbon. Disembarking in Rio de Janeiro the route travelled southward into Argentina before turning northwards along the western coast of South America before arriving in Mexico City.
The 1974 London-Sahara-Munich World Cup Rally followed four years later. The rally travelled southwards into Africa but a navigational error saw most of the rally become lost in Algerian desert. Eventually only seven teams reached the southernmost point of the rally in Nigeria with five teams making it back to West Germany having driven all legs and only the winning team completing the full distance. This, coupled with the economic climate of the 1970s the heat went out of intercontinental rallying after a second London–Sydney Marathon in 1977. The concept though was revived in 1979 for the original Paris-Dakar Rally . The success of the Dakar would eventually see intercontinental rallying recognised as its own discipline; the Rally Raid .
The introduction of the special stage brought rallying effectively into the modern era. It placed a premium on fast driving, and enabled healthy programmes of smaller events to spring up in Britain, France, Scandinavia, Belgium and elsewhere.
Since then, the nature of the events themselves has evolved relatively slowly. The increasing costs, both of organization and of competing, as well as safety concerns, have, over the last twenty years, brought progressively shorter rallies, shorter stages and the elimination of nighttime running, scornfully referred to as "office hours rallying" by older hands. Some of the older international events have gone, replaced by others from a much wider spread of countries around the world, until today rallying is truly a worldwide sport. At the same time, fields have shrunk dramatically, as the amateur in his near-standard car is squeezed out.
Gruelling long distance events continued to be run. In 1967, a group of American offroaders created the Mexican 1000 Rally, a tough 1,000-mile race for cars and motorcycles which ran the length of the Baja California peninsula, much of it initially over roadless desert, which quickly gained fame as the Baja 1000, today run by the SCORE organization. "Baja" events now take place in a number of other countries worldwide.
1968 brought the first of a series of British-organised intercontinental rallies, the Daily Express London-Sydney Marathon , which attracted over 100 crews including a number of works teams and top drivers; it was won by the Hillman Hunter of Andrew Cowan/Brian Coyle/Colin Malkin. Not to be outdone, the rival Daily Mirror sponsored in 1970 the London-Mexico World Cup Rally, linking the stadia of two successive football World Cups, on a route that crossed Europe to Bulgaria and back before shipping out from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro, after looping around South America, and a run through some of the most frightening sections of Peru's road race, the Caminos del Inca, they wrap it up being shipped to Panama and a final run up Central America. The Ford Escort of Hannu Mikkola and Gunnar Palm won. These were followed in 1974 by the London-Sahara-Munich World Cup Rally, and in 1977 by the Singapore Airlines London-Sydney Rally.
In 1979, a young Frenchman, Thierry Sabine, founded an institution when he organised the first "rallye-raid" from Paris to Dakar, in Senegal, the event now called the Dakar Rally. From amateur beginnings it quickly became a massive commercial circus catering for cars, motorcycles and trucks, and spawned other similar events. Since 2008, it has been held in South America.
RALLY CAR EVOLUTION
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The main change over that period has been in the cars, and in the professionalisation and commercialisation of the sport. Manufacturers had entered works cars in rallies, and in their forerunner and cousin events, from the very beginning: the 1894 Paris-Rouen was mainly a competition between them, while the Thousand Mile Trial of 1900 had more trade than private entries.
Although there had been exceptions like the outlandish Ford V8
specials created by the Romanians for the 1936 Monte Carlo Rally,
rallies before World War II had tended to be for standard or
near-standard production cars, a rule supported by manufacturers
because it created a relatively even playing field. After the war,
most competing cars were production saloons or sports cars , with only
minor modifications to improve performance, handling, braking and
suspension. This kept costs down and allowed many more people to
afford the sport using ordinary family cars, so entry lists grew into
Hannu Mikkola 's
1970 World Cup Rally -winning Ford
Escort RS1600 Group 4
Lancia Stratos HF
As public interest grew, car companies started to introduce special
models or variants for rallying, such as the British Motor Corporation
's highly successful
Mini Cooper , introduced in 1962, and its
Mini Cooper S (1963), developed by the Cooper Car
Company . Shortly after,
Ford of Britain first hired Lotus to create a
high-performance version of their Cortina family car, then in 1968
launched the Escort Twin Cam , one of the most successful rally cars
of its era. Similarly,
Other manufacturers were not content with modifying their
In 1980, a German car maker,
This particular era was not to last. On the 1986 Rallye de Portugal , four spectators were killed; then in May, on the Tour de Corse , Henri Toivonen went over the edge of a mountain road and was incinerated in the fireball that followed. FISA immediately changed the rules again: rallying after 1987 would be in Group A cars, closer to the production model. One notably successful car during this period was the Lancia Delta Integrale , dominating world rallying during 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991 and 1992 – winning six consecutive world rally championships, a feat yet unbeaten.
Sébastien Loeb , the world's most successful rally driver in terms of WRC wins
Most of the works drivers of the 1950s were amateurs, paid little or nothing, reimbursed their expenses and given bonuses for winning (although there were certainly exceptions, such as the Grand Prix drivers who were brought in for some events). Then in 1960 came arguably the first rallying superstar (and one of the first to be paid to rally full-time), Sweden's Erik Carlsson , driving for Saab .
In the 1960s, the competitions manager of BMC, Stuart Turner, hired a series of brave and gifted young Finns , skills honed on their country's highly competitive gravel or snow rallies, and the modern professional driver was born. As special stage rallying spread around the world Scandinavian drivers were challenged by drivers from Italy, Germany, Britain, Spain and elsewhere. Today, a World Champion may be of any nationality.
World Rally Championship
There are two main forms: stage rallies and road rallies. Since the 1960s, stage rallies have been the professional branch of the sport. They are based on straightforward speed over stretches of road closed to other traffic. These may vary from asphalt mountain passes to rough forest tracks, from ice and snow to desert sand, each chosen to provide an enjoyable challenge for the crew and a test of the car's performance and reliability.
The entertaining and unpredictable nature of the stages, and the fact that the vehicles are in some cases closely related to road cars, means that the bigger events draw massive spectator interest, especially in Europe, Asia and Oceania. An Escort RS Cosworth on a stage rally, driven by British driver Malcolm Wilson
Road rallies are the original form, held on highways open to normal traffic, where the emphasis is not on outright speed but on accurate timekeeping and navigation and on vehicle reliability, often on difficult roads and over long distances. They are now primarily amateur events. There are several types of road rallies testing accuracy, navigation or problem solving. Some common types are: Regularity rally or a Time-Speed-Distance rally (also TSD rally, testing ability to stay on track and on time), others are Monte-Carlo styles (Monte Carlo, Pan Am, Pan Carlo, Continental) rally (testing navigation and timing), and various Gimmick rally types (testing logic and observation).
Many early rallies were called trials, and a few still are, although this term is now mainly applied to the specialist form of motor sport of climbing as far as you can up steep and slippery hills. And many meets or assemblies of car enthusiasts and their vehicles are still called rallies, even if they involve merely the task of getting there (often on a trailer).
François Duval takes a hairpin turn on an asphalt-based special stage in Germany .
A typical rally course consists of a sequence of relatively short (up to about 50 km (31 mi)), timed "special stages " where the actual competition takes place, and untimed "transport stages" where the rally cars must be driven under their own power to the next competitive stage within a generous time limit. Rally cars are thus unlike virtually any other top-line racing cars in that they retain the ability to run at normal driving speeds, and indeed are registered for street travel. Some events contain "super special stages" where two competing cars set off on two parallel tracks (often small enough to fit in a football stadium), giving the illusion they are circuit racing head to head. Run over a day, a weekend, or more, the winner of the event has the lowest combined special and super special stage times. Given the short distances of super special stages compared to the regular special stages and consequent near-identical times for the frontrunning cars, it is very rare for these spectator-oriented stages to decide rally results, though it is a well-known axiom that a team cannot win the rally at the super special, but they can certainly lose it.
PACENOTES AND RECONNAISSANCE
Pacenotes are a unique and major tool in modern rallying. Television spectators will occasionally notice the voice of a co-driver in mid-race reading the pacenotes over the car's internal intercom. These pacenotes provide a detailed description of the course and allow the driver to predict conditions ahead and prepare for various course conditions such as turns and jumps.
In many rallies, including those of the World Rally Championship (WRC), drivers are allowed to run on the stages of the course before competition and create their own pacenotes. This process is called reconnaissance or recce. During reconnaissance, the co-driver writes down shorthand notes (the pacenotes) on how to best drive the stage. Usually the drivers call out the turns and road conditions for the co-drivers to write down. These pacenotes are read aloud through an internal intercom system during the actual race, allowing the driver to anticipate the upcoming terrain and thus take the course as fast as possible.
Other rallies provide organizer-created "route notes" also referred to as "stage notes" and disallow reconnaissance and use of other pacenotes. These notes are usually created using a predetermined pacenote format, from which a co-driver can optionally add comments or transpose into other pacenote notations. Many North American rallies do not conduct reconnaissance but provide stage notes through the use of the Jemba Inertia Notes System , due to time and budget constraints.
In the past, most rally courses were not allowed to be scanned prior to the race, and the co-drivers used only maps supplied by the organization. The exact route of the rally often remained secret until race day. Modern rallies have mostly converted to using organizer-supplied notes or allowing full reconnaissance, as opposed to racing the stages blindly. This change has been brought on in large part due to competitor demand.
In the wake of the ever more advanced rally cars of the 21st century is a trend towards historic rallying (also known as classic rallying ), in which older cars compete under older rules. This is a popular sport and even attracts some previous drivers back into the sport. Many who enter, however, have started their competition careers in historic rallying.
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* ^ Robson, Graham. An Illustrated History of