The high-tech, high-performance cars that compete in the FIA World Rally Championship are the all-rounders of the motorsport world.

Although they are based on standard road cars and are identifiable with the type of car that you buy in your local dealership, that is where the similarities stop.

They are capable of astonishing achievements on surfaces ranging from rocky and pot-holed dirt tracks to twisty and narrow asphalt lanes or rutted roads covered in snow and ice.

Cars must maintain peak performance in conditions where temperatures can plunge to near -30C at one round and soar to almost 30C above freezing on the next.   

There are several categories within the WRC, the fastest and most spectacular being for World Rally Cars. These cars are stripped from a basic road vehicle to a bare metal shell before being completely rebuilt.

All unnecessary brackets and mounting plates are removed to save weight and after around 700 hours of work, the shell emerges vastly stronger and stiffer than before.

The support categories are increasingly less modified than the headline-grabbing WRC cars but one thing that all rally cars have in common is that they are fitted with a steel tubular roll cage to provide maximum protection in the event of a crash. 

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