Organisers issue each crew with a time card which lists the times they must be at each time control and it is the co-driver's job to make sure the car is in the right place at the right time. There are penalties for being early as well as late.
Once in a stage the co-driver relays the pace notes to the driver through an intercom system in their safety helmets. The secret here is timing. The information must be delivered at exactly the right moment - not too early and definitely not too late. An added complication is that the co-driver can’t see the road too well, because in the interests of achieving a low centre of gravity, his or her seat is mounted as low a possible in the car. With a typical view of the underside of the dashboard, co-drivers are adept at feeling the direction of the car through the seat of their pants.
Between stages the co-driver will use a stage summary he has prepared, to brief the driver about the test ahead, highlighting any sections that might require extra caution. If there isn’t a service, they will work together to swap wheels around with the aim of having the least worn tyres on the front for the best steering response. Usually they will fit the spare and swap one rear wheel for a front.
As you can see, for drivers who like a challenge, the WRC has them in abundance. And that’s why it continues to attract the most talented, versatile drivers in the world. Former Formula One world champion Kimi Raikkonen, multiple MotoGP title winner Valentino Rossi and World Touring Car Championship Yvan Muller star are two of the most recent names to be tempted by the challenge...