4 Reasons Why Rallying Is One Of The Best Forms Of Motorsport
Living in Barcelona, you get to experience some amazing shows, events and festivals. The best of which for me so far was the recent passing through of the WRC. This was the first time I’ve seen international level rallying in person and by Jove, it did not disappoint. Here are the reasons why I now love rallying.
1. Seeing cars racing on roads you and I drive on, potentially every day.
Famously, the first stage of most WRC rallies happens in a city square. This is how I managed to meet the travelling circus of rallying. In fact, the RACC rally Catalunya runs its first stage through the world famous Plaça d’Espanya. It’s a beautiful part of Barcelona as it’s a long road running from a massive roundabout all the way to the foot of the Montjuïc hill. At the end of the road is a large fountain in front of a massive and beautiful building holding an art gallery. The drop back to the event is therefore the city centre with imposing old buildings lining the course. Firstly, this makes for amazing photography possibilities when a car is doing donuts in front of all the most recognisable buildings of a city. Secondly, it brings the racing to you. Instead of having to go to a race-track miles out of town, you can simply walk for half an hour and be in the midst of the best drivers around.
2. Snap, Crackle and Pop is a sound not only heard in your cereal bowl.
This may be a controversial point. In fact, as more and more forms of Motorsport are becoming turbocharged and losing the distinctive sound of a massive engine roaring. It would be hard to imagine how a modern car sound could be impressive. However, rally cars have generally always been turbocharged. If you go back to the 80’s with the Group B monsters, all the way up to today, the cars are fitted with huge turbos and massive waste-gates and blow-off valves. Therefore, if the sound of engine over-run producing explosive gunshot like bangs doesn’t impress you, the sound of all the air in the atmosphere exiting a turbo through a tiny hole at tens of thousands of RPM will.
3. Not so much driving as it is controlled crashing.
As any circuit driver will tell you, a slide will slow you down, always keep the car on the edge but still stable. Well, someone should tell rally drivers. In fact, as the cars were being chucked around the tight and twisty streets of Barcelona, you could smell more rubber from the tires than churros from the track-side stands lining the circuit. The route consisted of a few short accelerations and many hard braking hairpins allowing the drivers to get the most out of their specially designed hand brakes. Also, as the cars approached the end of the run, the drivers were made to complete a donut around a stack of tyres. Presumably tires too worn after completing the donuts. All this sliding really makes for a fun atmosphere and gives off a Formula Drift or Gymkhana relaxed feeling.
4. You never know who will win.
The 2018 Rally of Spain was one of the few rallies 9-time world champion Sebastian Loeb decided to take part in after 6 years of “retirement”. Despite his lack of experience with the newer, more downforce dependant 2018 cars, he managed to win the rally ahead of the title contenders of Ogier, Tanak and Neuville. The top three title contenders are separated only by 23 points with the top two, Ogier and Neuville, separated by only 3 points with 204 and 201 respectively. As the points are distributed after each weekend long rally in the same format as other FIA championships such as F1 (25;18;15;12;10;8;6;4;2;1), the title is still all to play for with only 1 rally left. This proves just how close the different cars are on pace and how competitive the championship is.
All in all, the event was a major success in my eyes. However, as the most part of the running was done at night, I don’t have many good pictures to show. Therefore, here are some horribly shaky videos to put you in a Motorsport mood.
Listen to the chirp when coming off the power!
What do you like about the WRC? What have I missed out? Or, on the other hand, why do you not like the WRC? Tell me in the comments below!