Rally Driving Techniques

Rally Driving Techniques

Posted by Aditya on Sun, 2008-06-22 18:55 in

(Disclaimer: Please use the information in this article with careful discretion and sound judgment. The author shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever (howsoever caused) which arise out of or in connection with the use of this site/article)

There is no substitute for actual look and real practice (in a safe open place) to learn the rally driving techniques, but here is an attempt to capture the basics and pointers to some useful resources out on the web.

Handbrake Turn
Handbrake Turn is used to keep up the speed at very sharp hairpin corners. Give a quick pull to the handbrake (without forgetting to push the button). Do not give too much steering, and accelerate out of the corner.

Don't worry if you are confused a bit, check Tiff Needell's video and other resources at the end of this article. Tiff's video also demonstrates 90 degree turn using handbrake lightly and opposite locking of the wheels.

(Just for the style element, you can refer out the reverse flick as well in the video. It uses handbrake turn to do a complete 180 degree turn, run the car in reverse gear at high speed, flick the steering to get the front swinging back to original direction again, and build up speed again.)

Left Foot Braking
For front wheel drive cars, left foot braking is a very effective technique to maintain high speed at corners. The right foot remains on throttle, and the driver brakes with left foot causing the car to oversteer. If the car is losing grip and understeering, apply more brake. Speed out of the corner.

Power Sliding
Keeping up a good speed, steer in to the direction of the curve, and lift off the throttle a bit allowing the car to lose traction on the rear wheels. The less traction the tyres would have, more the car would swing sideways. To regain grip while exiting, ease off the throttle and ensure car is aiming straight ahead at the road where you can pick up speed immediately.

(I remember doing this on a Scorpio on the gentle hills near Narkanda coming from Sangla. I was unaware that one of the tubeless tyres was already punctured, and had very less air pressure! This is the easiest technique for beginners and most probably one would have done it at some time or the other.)

Drifting is probably the fastest way around a corner. All the four wheels have traction, the car is turning sideways and front wheels point in the opposite direction to the turn.

One of the most frequently used drifting technique is the Scandinavian Flick.

Scandinavian Flick
Scandinavian Flick (also known as Finnish flick, Manji Drifting, or Pendulum turn) involves application of the steering input in the opposite direction while approaching a turn and then pushing down of brake and throttle simultaneously (Left Foot Braking). The car starts sliding sideways facing slightly away from the turn, and then steering input is applied towards the turn releasing the brake pedal while still pressing the throttle. Steer and accelerate out of the corner.
This technique is only for slippery surfaces e.g. gravel, snow etc and extremely difficult to achieve on non-slippery surfaces like a dry tarmac.

Check out wikipedia and videos on youtube for more clarity on application of these techniques. Another useful link is: richardburnsrally.com

Tiff Needell's Puma Drifting Classes Video


And you write as if all cars are equally capable of doing these stunts! I tried the "handbrake turn" once a few years ago after watching it in 'Top Gear' in my good ol' 800 - it almost turned turtle! easier written than done :(

Posted by AnkP (not verified) on Sun, 2008-06-29 15:57

Why would you want to preview the comments before publishing them?
beats me!!!!!!!!

Posted by AnkP (not verified) on Sun, 2008-06-29 15:59
Avoiding spam

Still avoiding spam the old fashioned manual way. :-)

Posted by Aditya on Sun, 2008-06-29 16:31
nothing is impossible

To ankp. im a rally driver and i used to use the handbrake all the time on my first car a maruthi 800. ur case is that u must be new to driving and u must have done it on unven terrain . also u should not panic and steer the vehicle in the opposite side suddenly cuz it will destablise the car(kind of the same technique u use in a scandanavian flick only recommended for stable cars)

Posted by mathai ibrahim (not verified) on Sat, 2008-08-30 08:57

I love rally, and drifting. sad fact is though, that we don't have much exposure to either here in the U.S.A. I don't believe they even televise WRC anymore. I've tried the hand break turn, and while holding the button, it still locked on me (darn!) I later realized it was because I hadn't held hard enough, and I pulled the hand break too far. I've also jumped a car before...over a jump approx 1.5 meters in the air, followed by a feint drift around a corner less than 7 meters after the jump...that was AWESOME! any way, thanks for the informative video and description of techniques!

Posted by firebeast (not verified) on Fri, 2009-07-17 21:15
Rally Driving and USA

Yeah there sure was Pro Rally in the USA--back int he 70s and 80s when the SCCA ran it. The stages were very hard compared to European high speed roads.

Many stages were on logging roads (in Michigan, etc) and were two tracks very car busting stages. The top end of the cars was not as important as driver ability and torque.

John Buffum was the guy who had the best sponsorship, butRoddy Millen with his four drive RX 7 (that he did himself) was probably faster in most corners.

It was possible to finance your own endeavor back then (many people did it).

As for the hand brake slide--you need to practice on snow, then to gravel and last to tar.

You might try left foot braking also.

There are many more driving techniques and actually there is a way to drive faster in snow than on normal gravel.


Posted by Christophe (not verified) on Tue, 2009-12-29 21:40
I wish I could drive like

I wish I could drive like this... My cousin is a great driver and he's driving on the V8 hot laps quite often, while I barely manage to get to the finish. I have to master these techniques and then surprise him next time we see each other!

Posted by leo22 (not verified) on Mon, 2011-09-05 18:22