The world rally is played on roads in different countries throughout the year. Each country has its own travel characteristics, which makes each race different from the others, but that, in general, can be classified by its surface, mainly asphalt and land, although it is also disputed on snow or ice.
The types of roads are very different and run on any surface. There are tours on snow, ice, earth, gravel, mud, asphalt, and combinations of these. During the tour, the pilots encounter yellow and red signals. These indicate the points where partial and total times are taken, respectively. Once the special is finished, cars must go through a technical inspection area where they are thoroughly checked to see if they comply with the established regulations or not.
It is a timed section of no more than 7 km, specially prepared so that cars can intensively test the modifications and adjustments that the mechanics have made for the race. The test path is connected in a similar way to a circuit, since, at the end of the tour, cars have a link section that connects them to the exit again. The shakedown meets the characteristics of all or most of the rally roads so that the conditions are recognized by the teams during the competition.
The shakedown lasts approximately two hours for World Rally Cars of priority one and another two hours, without intervals, which they share with cars of priority 2 and 3. After this time, the rest of the participants can take the tour.
It is a specially conditioned enclosure so that the mechanics of each team can make adjustments prior to the competition and the arrangements that the car requires after passing the special stages. It is also the place where teams control the performance of the drivers, hold meetings to decide strategies, and to discuss the development of the race. It is the equivalent to the pits in circuit racing.
The place where it is established represents the epicenter of the rally. The occupied land is divided by category, and, in general, the largest space is allocated to Group A8 (WRC). In some cases, Group A6 ( JWRC ) shares the designated area with Group N4 ( PWRC ), and private teams and guests share a separate, smaller-sized land. The service park is the only place where mechanics can intervene in cars, since during the race, only pilots can make repairs, and, in the Closed Park, access is restricted.
Before the 2005 world championship, the teams were free to have as many mechanics as they wanted during the service. However, in an effort to reduce costs, the FIA introduced new rules that limit the number of mechanics per World Rally Car. Today, the number is limited to eight mechanics for each of the teams of two designated cars.
Orange bracelets are numbered and are mandatory for personnel who are in contact with cars. Two of the eight bracelets are transferable, allowing mechanics to work on both cars.
An observer chosen by the organization is present in each service to ensure compliance with this standard. 42
It is a space where cars that are in a position to compete are grouped and are under the supervision of sports commissioners. In this area, refueling or repair of any kind is not allowed. Any violation of this rule is sanctioned with the exclusion of the car from the rally. The commissioners of the competition can only authorize exceptions. Behind the Closed Park are the equipment dining room and the pilots’ restroom.
The rules of the competition are usually changed regularly, usually from one year to another, to adapt the sport to several factors, including safety, competition costs, or promotion. Each change of rules applies to a minimum of one season, although there are usually general rules, which allow the development of the competition with the minimum standards established by the FIA, in accordance with all the competitions it governs.
Usually, the aerodynamics of the cars is more important in a circuit than in a rally, but the competition in the WRC, the cars are closer than ever, and the teams have put their cars under the microscope to identify anything that can make a difference.
The new aerodynamic features of the World Rally Cars, such as the front bumper, the rear spoilers, and the cooling systems are designed to ensure that the air flows throughout the car, generate grip and increases stability.
When a rally car moves sideways, the aerodynamic devices become less effective, and the car loses grip. The rear spoilers of the cars are usually designed to ensure grip even when the car turns at closed angles.
Engine ventilation is another key part in terms of aerodynamics. In long and very hot rallies such as the Rally of Greece, keeping the engine temperature under control requires the maximum possible airflow through the radiator and cooling. However, when a rally car travels through very fast sections, too much air for cooling purposes can produce drag and reduce maximum speed. 45
The cushioning of a World Rally Car consists of support, two springs, and a shock absorber on each wheel. 46 The shock absorbers can be adjusted first in height, to adapt to the type of terrain, and second in the way of working the oil flows located within the shock absorber itself.