Rally driving is the most exciting, adrenaline fuelled, heart pumping, smile making form of motorsport which every petrol head and motorsport enthusiast should try at least once in their lives! The roads are slippery and the action never stops when you’re behind the wheel trying to control a rally car with the same special techniques as the top drivers use. Gravel, tarmac, snow, ice, mud, wind and rain – all in a days’ work for a rally driver!
Rally Cars and Rally Special Stages
Rally cars are modified production cars or specially built road legal cars. In special stage rallying, like the World Rally Championship and most National rally championships, up to one hundred and fifty crews, made up of driver and co-driver, compete against the clock on a series of Special Stages. Their total driving time for all the Special Stages, plus any penalties they incurred, will determine their finishing position. The crew with the lowest total time is the winner.
The most demanding and involving motorsport
Rally driving is widely regarded as the most demanding and involving of motorsports. It requires drivers to be highly skilled in the range of driving techniques required to drive at speed on any road surface – gravel, tarmac, snow, ice , mud and adapt to the ever variable range of grip presented by each surface, on every rally they compete in.
History and Britain’s Rally Champions
The name Rally as a form of motorsport dates back to the Monte Carlo
Rally in 1911, though rallying itself dates back to the 1894 Paris-Rouen
Horseless Carriage competition.
Britain’s first rally driving hero was Irish driver Paddy Hopkirk, who drove a works Mini Cooper S to victory in the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally. In the 1970’s the BBC’s coverage of the Lombard RAC Rally made Englishman Roger Clark the UK’s first rally driving superstar. He won four British Rally Championships and the RAC Rally twice, the second victory in 1976 made him the first British driver to win a round of the World Rally Championship.
The UK’s second rally driving superstar was Scotsman Colin McRae who became famous for his never say die, seat of the pants driving style. He became Britain’s first World Rally Champion in 1995, co-driven by Scotsman Derek Ringer.
Britain’s first World Rally Champion Co-Driver was Welshman David Richards who won the title with Finnish driver Ari Vatanen in 1981. When Colin McRae won the World Rally Championship David Richards was his Team Principal.
Britain’s second World Rally Champion driver was Englishman Richard Burns. After finishing runner-up in 1999 and 2000 he won the title in 2001 co-driven by Scotsman Robert Reid. David Richards was also his Team Principal.