For the love of the Sport...        ....a very personal view at Rallye Racing
             So what is it all about?

"God dammit, turn in earlier, you missed entirely the Apex and the exit, now we almost ended up in the field, what if there were trees and not a field? Focus, now you'll have to scrub off speed!"

Oh yeah, it's still ringing in my ears today, all the things you have to consider in the driver seat while going at speed through the woods, or any other place for that matter. And I am grateful for these lessons, the pressure of having to drive with under-performing equipment, it surely paid off in a long run.

Ron Dennis, well known throughout the Racing community once said "to finish first, you first have to finish", and believe me, I've heard that phrase way before it became an "official" statement years later.
And here is the point where you could start to distinguish between today's Rallye Championships and the good 'ol days. ABS wasn't invented yet, a sequential gearbox didn't exist and you couldn't tell if the guy with greasy hands and oil smeared clothes was actually the driver or a mechanic.

I respect today's Rallye drivers the same way I did in the old days, besides added technology, safety and slightly faster cars, the techniques and driving physics haven't changed a bit. If you can not make a turn then you are simply going too fast, remember who said that? Only 2 people come to mind, Tim O'Neil and my Grandpa, .....figures.

So what is Rallye Racing all about? Why do people engage in such seemingly dangerous sport, knowing that your final kilometer on a Rallye stage could be your last trip ever on this planet? Is it the need for Speed? Or breaking away from driving boredom? Is there a point to proof? Are Rallye Drivers just thrill seekers?
I honestly can not answer that question to satisfy the audience a 100 percent, but from my point of view, it is a little bit of everything; the thrill, the speed, and knowing that you have the capability of doing something extra ordinary.

And yes, Rallye Drivers are a competitive bunch, but most compete with themselves against a stopwatch because only one they can improve on is the guy behind the wheel.
 
Would it be bold to call it an Art of Driving and consider Rallye Drivers a form of Artists behind the wheel?  No, absolutely not, and I can proof it.

The never satisfied urge and desire to move a car at maximum speed over different surfaces to achieve something special is the driving force behind these Artists. And believe me, winning a Rallye stage or a Championship can not be described in mere words, it must be experienced!

I can just imagine that painting artists like van Gogh or Gauguin having felt something very similar when looking at an empty piece of paper, the application of colors, the expression, the motive and style, something great that should be shared with the World.

This might be a little over the top and perhaps self serving but when you look at the great amount of details, skills and techniques required to handle a car on numerous surfaces, it comes down to only one appropriate description - the Art of Rallye Racing.

There are a plenty types of different surfaces like gravel, sand, snow, ice or even just plain tarmac and it takes something special to master each one of them.

A Rallye Driver's expression, if closely observed, can been noticed on how he or she draws the tire profile into the surface by using a distinguished style and technique, just like a van Gogh. Every driving method from sensitive and extremely smooth to hard and aggressive, be it sideways over a crest or air born during the forest stages - and all of it without giving second thoughts to braking, shifting or accelerating, it simply happens, it's in the driver's nature, in his blood.

This is what Rallye Drivers do, it is our way to express ourselves, our contribution to one of the probably most entertaining parts of Motorsport; it is precision driving, awesome to watch, it is very demanding yet inspiring, essentially - in itself, it is an Art.
 

Can it be learned? Absolutely, like everything else that you'll need to master in your life, driving a Rallye car to perfection is no exception.

Is it hard to learn? Well, I could take the easy way out and simply say: maybe, depends.
But honestly, yes, it is hard; and depending on what level you want to achieve, the challenges are not getting any easier.

So if you had the patience to read up to this point, great, Thank you! I really appreciate it! And if you still haven't lost the interest and would like to hear more in detail about Rallye Racing then switch over to the Sideways-Blog; there, I promise to mix stories, experience, technical stuff and some useful insight. And perhaps it will inspire you to get started, there is a Rallye car out there somewhere for every budget, and you could become its next driver.