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The WRC

The rally is surely one of the most dangerous and spectacular sports in the world. On the toughest roads of the world, racing cars manage to run special stages at amazing speeds. In the bucket seat, fearless drivers often playing with danger risk their life on each portion of the road. The increasingly more demanding world championship makes the show more and more impressive. The drivers are able to face the worst conceivable conditions to be in front in each of the 16 countries accomodating the WRC : on the icy roads of the Monte Carlo, where they need to survive all the tricky conditions of the weather, on the thick Swedish snow they slide with the help of the side walls, on the stony tracks of the Acropolis they try to save their tyres, in Cyprus they hope the car will not break, on the speedy roads of Finland they jump and stay few seconds in the air (it does require some kind of madness and blind trust in the codriver), on the twisty tarmac of Corsica they pray for the weather to obey their tyre choice, on the Argentine they remember Vatanen accident in the group B, and in the welsh mud they wonder what the hell they are doing out there.

WRC is no vacation. WRC is all about competion, team workt, technical ability, intelligence hard work, driving skills and luck. But then, when you have the gift you get the luck.

The largest manufacturers thus benefitted from this discipline to praise the merits of their cars, to show their quality and their reliability. With time, the amateurs became professionals and the manufacturers as for them created compartments sport to manage that. The results were to follow and considerable means were brought into play so that that arrives. Thus, throughout the year, the teams multiply the tests between the races to reach that point. Indeed, to succeed in this sport, it is necessary to be able to take seconds on the adversary constantly and to have a perfectly regulated car at the beginning of each stage during the three days of competition. Manufacturers specialized in this very technical sport like Michelin and Pirelli (tires), OZ Racing and Speedline (rims) or McPherson (shock absorbers). And if a team allows the least negligence in one field, it can lose the victory like that there was the case with many and many recoveries in the history.

Then, one started to see the large marks unloading in Africa, South America, Australia or in the most beautiful European countries with their team of mechanics, their trucks, their engineers, their racing racing cars... and, of course, their pilots. Thus, Lancia, Fiat, Audi, Peugeot, Toyota or Mitsubishi have marked the rally world forever just like it was the case for rallymen such as Juha Kankkunen, Stig Blomqvist, Walter Röhrl, Ari Vatanen, Bjorn Waldegaard, Tommi Mäkinen and Carlos Sainz.

At the beginning, the rallies were races which lasted more than one week the goal being to join a point without having course to respect nor timed sectors, the winner was the one who arrived the first. Then, rules were founded and this sport professionnalized itself.

Today, a rally proceeds over four days. Thursday, the teams take part to the "shakedown", day that one could qualify of free tests. Then the race proceeds in three legs Friday, saturday and Sunday. Each leg is broken up into several timed portions, the "special stages", which are connected between them by connections which them proceed on roads open to circulation and where the pilots must respect the highway code. On somes rallies, there are also "special stages" the evening, timed courses on circuit, long from hardly 1 or 2 km, where 2 drivers clash coast at coast, the principal interest being the spectacle more than the race since the winners do not gain there whom some little hundredths.

The great authorities of this sport noting the growing popularity of the rally, a world championship was created : for the manufacturers in 1973 and for the drivers 6 years later, in 1979. In parallel, there is the co-driver championship.

The Group B in the Eighties is without doubt the paroxysm of the rally, years where we could see racing cars such as the Peugeot 205 T16 or the Audi Quattro which developed up to 500 ch. but these cars being too dangerous (what was checked by several accidents fatal), the FIA put the end to that and appeared in 1987 the Group A for replace it, this last which disappear in 1997 leaving its place to the WRC when the engine power is fixed at 300 ch. Incontestably, Lancia is the mark which marked this "pilot" sport the most gaining 4 driver titles and 10 manufacturer ones.

This championship was also declined in several parallel championships in order to make it possible more to pilots to benefit from this sport. Thus one saw appearing the championship Groupe N (for the production cars) in 1987, a championship Team'S Cup (for the semi-private teams) in 1998 but quickly stopped (at the end of 2001) and more recently the Championship Junior (JWRC), launching pad of the future stars of the WRC (S1600 cars and limited age to 28 years old) in 2001.

WRC official website : www.wrc.com