Each rally features a number of timed sections – known as stages – run on closed roads.
While each rally is different, there are about 15 to 25 stages at official ARC events.
Drivers battle one at a time to complete these stages as quickly as possible, with timing down to 1/10th second. Along the way, a co- driver reads detailed pace notes that explain what is coming up ahead. Competitors drive to and from each stage on public roads, observing normal traffic regulations.
Most rallies follow the same basic itinerary. This starts with two days of ‘reconnaissance’ where driver and co-driver practice the route, at limited speed, to make pace notes. It is followed by ‘shakedown’ – a full speed test of their rally car – with the competition proper running for usually two days, sometimes three, over the weekend.
Because rallies may run over several days, competitors visit a ‘service park’ at pre- determined points to allow technicians to perform mechanical work on each car. Service time is strictly limited, with each stop being either 10, 30 or 45 minutes. At the end of each day’s competition, cars are held in a secure parc fermé.
Away from the service park, only the driver and co-driver can work on their car, using only tools and spare parts carried on board.