Rallying or Rally Racing is a form of point-to-point racing where drivers navigate their way between different sets of points along a circuit. Highly modified production cars are used for Rally Racing and these are generally constructed with particular terrain in mind. For example, cars used in Desert rallies need to be able to cope with much different road and terrain conditions compared to those faced by Winter rallies. Rally racing tracks are usually made up of closed off public roads or off-road areas, which means that a rally car can (and usually does) encounter a wide variety of terrain.
Entrants in Rallies are permitted to scout the track before the race and the co-driver (or navigator) uses this information to his team’s best advantage. The co-driver makes use of “pace notes” which are read aloud over an intercom system in the car to the driver in order to assist him in completing each stage of the rally as fast as possible. The winner of the rally is usually the team with the lowest total elapsed time for the entire event.
Rally cars are unusual in that they must be able to travel ordinary roads and therefore must conform to the road regulations of the host country. This is necessary because often the entrants must drive in un-timed stages from one timed course to another. Rallying has evolved considerably from its humble origins in the early years of the 20th century, and today rallying is immensely popular around the world, especially in Europe. Some sources estimate that Rally Racing ranks second in popularity to Formula One racing. Manufacturers and fans around the globe support the World Rally Championship, and rally events take place in some of the world’s most inhospitable areas such as the Sahara Desert or Lapland, north of the Arctic Circle.