Key words to help you understand the WRC…

This acronym has a double meaning: World Rally Championship and World Rally Car, the technical category into which this car homologated by the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) for this world championship, falls. 

Its roots lie in the legendary town-to-town races at the end of the 19th century, and its name comes from the French verb ‘rallier’ meaning to reach a town or a finishing point. Today, the length of the itinerary has been considerably reduced and it is generally concentrated around a host town. A WRC rally can be run over two, three or four days and must finish on either Saturday or Sunday.

Before the start of each rally the drivers have two days to find their marks on the route with a maximum of two passages through the special stages. Reconnaissance is carried out in standard cars and the Highway Code must be respected. 

During reconnaissance the driver gives his personal assessment of the route which the co-driver notes down. He then repeats these observations to the driver in the stages so that the latter can anticipate the challenges he has to face. Notes from previous rallies can be used. 

This term refers to the final practice session held the day before the start of the rally to enable the drivers to fine-tune their cars’ setup. Teams entered in the manufacturers’ world championship must make a minimum of four passes. 

In general there are three, one per day. A leg comprises a succession of road sections and timed stages (from 4 to 10 depending on their length). 

Road sections
These are the roads used by the drivers to go to the start of a special stage. On these sections open to normal traffic, drivers must respect the Highway Code and the low average times set by the organisation. 

A timed run on a road closed to traffic. The total distance of the special stages is between 300 and 500 km per rally.  

Super special
A short timed stage on an artificial layout (stadium, horse race course, circuit, city layout, etc.) whose aim is to create a spectacle near or in the host town. It is run like a stage or a duel and counts towards the overall classification.

Power Stage
This stage is broadcast live on TV during the final leg. The first three are awarded additional points towards the championship (3, 2, 1 points). 

They are awarded according to the same table as in F1: 25, 18, 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1 to the first ten in the overall classification for the drivers’ and co-drivers’ championships. The same number is awarded for the manufacturers’ championship with the points scored by the two cars combined. 

Driver or crew which leads the overall classification. 

Any form of service is forbidden on the route except in the zone foreseen for this purpose. The service park is generally installed in the host town, but remote service parks may also be set up. In addition to the crew eight people from the team and a medical assistant are allowed to work on the car. The duration of the intervention is limited to 15 (morning), 30 (during a leg) and 45 minutes in the evening. The crew may intervene on the route provide they use only the spare parts and tools in their car. All external help is forbidden.

Emptying the tank
If necessary, as a service, (changing of a fuel tank or a pump) emptying or refilling is permitted in a service park provided that: 

- This work is carried out with the knowledge of the organiser.

- Fire extinguisher with an operator on stand-by is provided by the competitor.

- No other work is carried out on the car during the emptying and/or refilling operation.

- A suitable safety perimeter is established around the car.

Only enough fuel is added to reach the next refuelling zone.

Except in the case of a fuel tank change the drivers can only refuel in the designated refuelling zones (ZR), or in the service stations along the rally route (for non-priority drivers only). The fuel distributed by Petrochem Carless, the single supplier nominated by the FIA, must be used by all priority drivers.  The price of a litre is fixed at 5.48 euros (tax included). The FIA reserves itself the right to check a competitor’s fuel at any time. It is up to the manufacturers to ensure the conformity of the fuel before using it in competition. 

Like other components (chassis, gearbox, differentials, tyres) the number of engines is limited to three per car for the whole season to reduce running costs.

Starting order
There is a change in 2015. The starting order of the first two legs is based on the world championship classification. For the final leg the priority drivers start in the reverse order of the general classification of the previous day. 

The car must check in the exact minute at the time controls (CH) throughout the leg. The co-driver must check in and ensure that the marshal marks the fact that his car passed the control at the target time: a check-in time of 12h00 for example must be done between 12.00.00 and 12.00.59. Penalties (one minute for early arrival and 10 seconds for late arrival) sanction any gap. 

The cars are regrouped at the end of each series of special stages at the entrance to the service park, at midday and at the end of the day. Any form of mechanical intervention is forbidden. 

At any moment in the case of an accident the race director can interrupt the starts of a special stage, which is then neutralised. Depending on the circumstances the starts may recommence or be cancelled. In the latter case the drivers who have been unable to run the stage will be given an affected time calculated on the basis of the average gaps since the start. 

A special stage can be cancelled at the last moment a few minutes before the start of the first car when adequate safety conditions cannot be assured, often because there are too many spectators in a precise zone. 

Rally 2
This name was adopted in 2014 for the drivers who retired during a leg and allowed to restart the next day. A penalty of 7 minutes per stage not covered is imposed on the crew. If the retirement is during the final stage of the day the penalty is increased to 10 minutes. 

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