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Rally 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 not running 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.

Marcus Grönholm and Sébastien Loeb compete on a gravel-based super special stage in Argentina.

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 "transport stages" where the rally cars must be driven under their own power to the next competitive stage within a specific time limit in which penalties are applied for being completed either too fast as well as too slow

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 "transport stages" where the rally cars must be driven under their own power to the next competitive stage within a specific time limit in which penalties are applied for being completed either too fast as well as too slowly. 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

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 shor

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.[64]

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.[65][66] 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.

Film

In February 2015, The National Film & Television School in England premiered one of their graduating films called Group B directed by ex-rally driver Nick Rowland. The film, set during the last year of the Group B class of rally tells the story of a young driver having to face a difficult comeback after a "long and troubled absence". The young driver is played by Scottish actor Richard Madden, and his co-driver played by Northern Irish actor Michael Smiley.

The film features Group B class cars such as Ford RS200, Opel Manta and Tony Pond's MG Metro 6R4. The stunt driving in the film has been attributed to Rally America champion National Film & Television School in England premiered one of their graduating films called Group B directed by ex-rally driver Nick Rowland. The film, set during the last year of the Group B class of rally tells the story of a young driver having to face a difficult comeback after a "long and troubled absence". The young driver is played by Scottish actor Richard Madden, and his co-driver played by Northern Irish actor Michael Smiley.

The film features Group B class cars such as Ford RS200, Opel Manta and Tony Pond's MG Metro 6R4. The stunt driving in the film has been attributed to Rally Ame

The film features Group B class cars such as Ford RS200, Opel Manta and Tony Pond's MG Metro 6R4. The stunt driving in the film has been attributed to Rally America champion David Higgins.[67]

A documentary revolving around the life and career of World Rally Championship driver Ott Tänak entitled Ott Tänak: The Movie was released in Estonian cinemas on April 11, 2019,[68] and on video-on-demand on October 1, 2019.[69] The documentary consisted of interviews with Tänak, his family, friends and colleagues within the sport interspersed with filmed and archive footage of Tänak's previous rallies along with behind-the-scenes footage from the 2018 WRC season viewed from the Estonian driver's perspective.[70]