Rally is where a challenging or technical road is closed to the public, and each competitor is started at 1 minute intervals. The race is against other cars in your group classification and against the clock. The driver receives route information for each stage in regards to turn difficulty and road hazzards. A turn grade of 1 thru 6 for turn intensity, 1 is a hairpin, 6 is much faster, information like a crest, tightens, opens, tree on outside stay in, double caution jump! A driver needs to listen to his co-driver, the road can unfold in front of you as it is read. A co-driver cannot pause during a stage to look up, his attention cannot be interrupted. A massive trust factor is involved, maybe this is why we work well together. I find night stages to be the funnest. 4 - 500 watt lights mounted on the front can illuminate the road 1 mile ahead quite easily.
A race can be fairly short in total stage miles or quite long taking 2 days with nite stages. A short race may have 4 stages under 50 mi total or a national run with 150 miles. Transits are required between race stages so total miles traveled can exceed over 300 in just 1 day. Event organizers and volunteers are essential in the running of each race. Workers are needed to control intersections, spectators, time controls and finish controls.
Car classifications, or 'groups' help to create equal footing within each class. Open, Production and Historic classes. Open encourages car modifications but the car must be based on production models produced in quantities of at least 1,000 for that model year. No 1-off vehicles are allowed. There are 4-wheel turbo 'Subies' and Mitsubishi EVO's racing against each other and the overall win. 2 wheel drive is broken into 2 classes of engine displacement, under 3 liter and over 3 liter or turboed, known as Group 2 and Group 5 respectively.
We belong in the Group 2 category. A 2.8 liter, 2 wheel drive open class. We often place better than half of the 4-wheel drive cars of bigger displacement. At a recent event we were approx 40 seconds faster than a 'super production EVO with 300 plus HP'.
Our Team Trauma Rally car is a 2001 VW jetta VR6. 2.8 liter, normally aspirated VR6 engine (it is not a v-6, more like a straight 6 with the 2 sets of 3 cylinders crossing at a 15 degree bank, interwoven to save space. it has a cold air intake, performance cam and header, Bilstein shocks special made from Barrett Dash at 'ALL WHEELS DRIVEN' out in Oregon. It took the better part of the summer of 2011 to complete. As for rally cars it has good power but is heavy at about 3000 lbs. That is just one of the beauties of rally, the variety of cars and the creativity behind them.