Is Rally Driving Hard?
The simple answer is yes, but the beauty of rally driving is that anyone can learn how to do it competently with professional coaching and practice.
Rally driving takes place on tarmac, gravel or mixed surface private or closed public roads and in every type of weather condition – sun, wind, rain, mud, snow and ice, sometimes all on the same day.
Driving at speed on this range of road types with such a wide variation in grip requires driver’s to be competent in a wide range of specialist rally driving techniques
Driving a rally car on any surface with any level of grip, centres on the driver transferring the weight of the car from the rear to the front, or from the front to the rear. This is known as weight transfer and is used to position the car or ‘set the car up’, to turn through and exit corners.
Apart from those constructed by manufacturer teams for the World Rally Championship which only resemble the body shape of the production car, rally cars are modified production cars. The principle of weight transfer applies to the three types of drive train used in all cars, front wheel drive, rear wheel drive and four wheel drive.
Steering with the throttle
Weight transfer is often referred to as ‘steering the car with the throttle’. In practice this means the driver positions the car or ‘sets the car up’ for corners with the combined use of brakes, steering and throttle, with the throttle inputs being the most sensitive and effective in changing the direction of the car.
Multi-tasking at speed
That sounds straightforward but at the same time the driver is processing at speed, the level of grip approaching the corner, through the corner and on exiting the corner; the optimum line into, through and on exit of the corner; and adapting to changes in all of these area as he arrives at them. The process is repeated several thousand times a rally.
Practice is the mother of all skill
Successful rally drivers learn this through practice over many years; the very best drivers in the world say they never stop learning.
The best place to start
The best place to start the learning process is at a professional rally driving school where you can learn the basics of controlling a rally car on a loose surface in preparation for your entry into a competitive rally.