An Introduction to WRC

From Jouni Tikanen [ 13/06/2001 ].
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This introduction is meant for both those who don't yet know World Rally Championship but can also give something to more experienced fans. It is a complement to the Rally Glossary in which certain things are explained in depth.


If you're new to the FIA World Rally Championship (acronym: WRC), this article is a perfect place to start with. Since I don't believe that too many genuinely new people find their way first into my site, I try to include a bit of more advanced material into this too. So unless you're real expert you might find something interesting here. Also note that while this article covers some basics, more info can be found at glossary of rally terms and if you still have questions after reading these, don't hesitate to ask on via the general message board. There will surely be someone there that will be glad to answer your question.

What is it all about?

Rallying is a form of motorsports that is run over ordinary roads rather than in specialized circuits used in Formula One or off-road environment used in endurance events like Paris-Dakar.

In distinction to rallycross in rallying drivers compete against the clock, not directly against the other drivers.

And in distinction to rally-sprints, stages used in rallying are much longer (up to 40 to 50 km, average being 10 to 30 km) and special co-drivers are used to call pace notes.

Under current rules, each competitor starts into the stages with two minute intervals (applies to works drivers only, private drivers start with one minute intervals) so under normal circumstancies competitors see each others only at the start and finish of the stage.

Who runs the show?

Freddy Loix - Cyprus 2001There are four important parties involved. First one is FIA, the ruling body. It's the same body that makes also rules for Formula One, for example. Their role is only to make rules and govern, they do nothing else. Commercial rights to the WRC has been sold to International Sportsworld Communicators (ISC) which is owned by David Richards. They do all promotion, filming and distribution in relation to whole championship.

Thirdly there are manufacturers or teams, who design, build and run cars in the championship.Alister McRae - Cyprus 2001 They are required to enter two cars in every event (but can enter more if they wish) but may name different drivers in each event. There are rules for new teams who have option to contest 25% of events in their first year, 50% in second year and all in third and subsequent seasons. Fourth party are event organizers who are independent organisations around the world and it is their job to organise event under FIA rules. There are as many ways of accomplishing this as there are events, some are free for the spectators while some use tickets. Some attract up to 150 entries while some are restricted to 60 entries (a trend for smaller entries is FIA's current wish).

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