Rally car racing isn’t for the uninitiated or faint of heart, it is a totally different beast than road driving.
It usually involves dirt roads and skidding, E-brake turns and the general defiance of all apparent logic as far as trying to keep a car upright and moving forward. If you can control the motor and the weight of a rally car, you’re truly in control.
In these GoPro rally racing videos, you can see what goes in to navigating that kind of machine.
Ken Block Tests The Gravel
No high-speed racing scenario is easy. Even if you’re going around a track or generally following the same pattern, you’re still piloting a heavy, treacherous vehicle at very high speeds while trying to not only avoid other cars, but also protect yourself.
That being said, you do benefit in these sports from keeping your car out of harms way. There’s also very little in the way of surfaces that could send you careening off the road or into objects.
As you can see in this video, rally car racing could not be more different. All you’re dealing with are surfaces that are unforgiving and erratic, and you’re constantly surrounded by objects that would be no fun to introduce your car to.
If you’re going to be dealing with volatile terrain and challenging scenarios when driving your rally car, you might as well go all the way.
Here, we see a car operating on a frozen tundra in Russia, trying to avoid trees and rocks while staying on a thin snowy trail that carves a path through the forest.
Instead of a plain driving surface, the driver is taking on snow; an environment where the car can spin out or whip into disaster at any moment.
That being said, it also provides a much greater challenge for racers because of its unpredictability and erraticism. The only question then becomes whether you value luck more, or preparation.
Martin Semerad Rally
In rally racing, when you take off, your copilot will do the navigating for you. Otherwise, the task of both watching the road and watching your map becomes, at the very least, quite dangerous.
Instead, you have someone calling directions for you, freeing you up to concentrate on what’s actually the hardest part of rally racing: driving that car.
Even with your eyes focused on the road, rally racing is no walk in the park, but it’s a lot more manageable with the help of your navigator.
New England Forest Rally
As with most driving, the tighter the road you’re forced to navigate, the more difficult the task of driving is.
If you shrink that road down to basically a country side-road, as they do here, then you’re left with something that only barely looks suited to accommodating an entire automobile, much less one that is traveling at the speed that this rally car is.
When navigating a road as thin as this, control and steady steering become even more important than they were before; not only do your straightaways need to be calculated and understood, but also your turning into spins and your skids as well.
Both are things that are used strategically in the world of rally racing, and both come to mean different things on a tight backwoods road.
Fivemiletown Spring Rally
At the end of the day, though, rally car racing is like any other type of auto racing: try and make a powerful vehicle go as fast as you can while maintaining control of it.
In a lot of ways, it’s the most regular battle of man vs. machine in extreme sports – you don’t often have to deal with your snowmobile developing it’s own momentum, do you?
And that also leads into moments like the ones in this video, in which proper steering of the car results in a true blending in with nature. How better to honor nature than with a fast and properly navigated vehicle hurtling through it?