Every sport has its own jargon and the World Rally Championship is no exception. If you’re baffled by rallyspeak, check out this glossary. If you come across a term that’s not here, let us know and we will see if we can add it.
Academy: The replacement for the Junior World Rally Championship, the new-for-2011 WRC Academy is open to 24 drivers born on or after 1 January 1986. Drivers use identical Ford Fiesta R2s prepared by the British M-Sport organisation from a base in Krakow, Poland. Uniquely, drivers will tackle two thirds of the total rally distance before spending the final day of an event in various training workshops and seminars.
ALS: Short for Anti Lag System, which keeps the car’s turbocharger spinning to ensure the car always has turbo boost.
Aerodynamics: WRC cars have spoilers, splitters and other shaped panels on the bodywork to direct cool air around the engine, gearbox and brakes and help keep the car firmly on the road - or flying level - at high speeds.
Co-driver: The navigator in the passenger seat who gives a running commentary through an intercom to the driver about directional changes and road conditions ahead.
Dampers: An essential part of a rally car’s suspension. Each car has four - one connected to each wheel hub. Dampers are designed to absorb bumps from the road and keep the tyres in contact with the road surface as often as possible.
Damper settings: Rally car dampers are adjustable so they can provide different characteristics. At the simplest level they can be soft or hard, but other factors like rebound or ride height can also be altered. Drivers are able to adjust damper settings between stages. The degree of change is usually measured in ‘clicks’ of the adjuster wheel.
Driveshaft: The part of the transmission system which transfers drive from the front or rear differential to the wheel. Each four-wheel-drive rally car has four.
Driver safety: WRC cars don’t have airbags. Instead, the crew sit inside a super-strong protective cell. They are surrounded by a roll cage and strap themselves in with six-point wide-strap safety belts, similar to those used in military fighter planes. The car, which also features side impact protection devices, has an automatic fire extinguisher system plumbed-in and the crew wear flameproof overalls and underwear, safety helmets and a head and neck support system (see HANS device).