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Rallying (international) or rally racing (US) is a form of automobile racing that takes place on normal roads with modified production or specially built road cars.
A rally course consists of a sequence of relatively short (up to about 50 kilometres) 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. 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.
In most rallies, including those of the World Rally Championship (WRC), drivers are allowed to run on the tracks of the course. In these reconnaissance drives, the co-drivers, who sit next to the drivers, write down notes on how to drive the course. These "pace notes" are repeated during the actual race, allowing the driver to take the course as fast as possible.
In the past—and until recently in the United States And Canada —most rally courses were not allowed to be scanned prior to the race, and the co-drivers used maps supplied by the organisation. The exact route of the rally often remained secret until race day. This is changing however, rallies throughout North America are now switching to either organizer supplied "route notes" or to full reconnaissance or "Recce" (pronounce Wreck-E). This change has been brought on in large part due to competitor demand. Recce makes the competition experience faster, safer, and more satisfying for the entrant.
Rally is also unique in its choice of where and when to race. That is to say rally happens on all surfaces and in all conditions, asphalt (tarmac), gravel, snow & ice, all surfaces are valid and sometimes more than one on a single rally. You can also find rallies in every month of the year in every climate. Bitter cold to monsoon rain. This contributes to the notion that top rally drivers are some of the best car control experts in the world. Because the drivers don't know exactly what's ahead, the lower traction available on dirt roads, and the driving characteristics of small cars, the drivers are much less visibly smooth than asphalt (tarmac) circuit racers, regularly sending the car literally flying over bumps, and sliding the cars out of corners. The entertaining nature, and the fact that the vehicles are in some cases closely related to road cars, draws massive spectator interest, especially in Europe, Asia and Oceania.
There are several categories of rally cars. In the FIA World Rally Championship, the cars used are built to World Rally Car specification. Previously Group A and Group B specification machines (enormous turbo's in lighwieght bodies) were used. Group B cars were banned in 1986 due to a heavy number of deaths and injuries among drivers and audience. It's worth noting though that due to advances in technology today's WRC rally cars are much faster than the Group B era. Deaths are now very rare due to modern safety regulations and spectator control.
- Acropolis Rally in Greece
- Junior World Rally Championship (JWRC)
- Monte Carlo Rally to Monte Carlo
- Neste Rally Finland in Finland
- Corona Rally Mexico in Mexico
- Olympus Rally
- Paris Dakar Rally (which is actually an offroad endurance race rather than a rally as described here)
- RAC Rally in the UK
- Rallye des Pharaons in Egypt
- Safari Rally
- San Remo Rally San Remo
- Swedish Rally
- Targa Florio (on Sicily)
- Canadian Rally Championship
- Targa Newfoundland
- Targa Tasmania
- World Rally Championship
Rallying is a very popular sport at the "grass roots" of motorsport—that is, motor clubs. Individuals interested in becoming involved in rallying are encouraged to join their local clubs. Club rallies (e.g. Road rallies) are usually run on public roads with an emphasis on navigation and teamwork. These skills are important fundamentals required for anyone who wishes to progress to higher-level events. Additional information about the jargon and rules of rally racing are available through the following links:
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