Rally raid

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A Norwegian rally team is trying to complete one of the more difficult stages of the Budapest-Bamako rally in 2014. Saharan driving on the Budapest-Bamako.jpg
A Norwegian rally team is trying to complete one of the more difficult stages of the Budapest-Bamako rally in 2014.
2017 Kalahari 1000km Desert Race Motor Start of Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000km racing.jpg
2017 Kalahari 1000km Desert Race

Rally raid, also known as cross-country rallying, is a form of long distance off-road racing that takes place over several days. The length of the event can be as short as 2–3 days for a cross-country baja to as long as 15 days with marathon rallies like the Dakar Rally; with other cross-country rally events lasting 4–5 days. With skill in navigation being key, the driving skill and endurance of riders, drivers, co-drivers, and machines are put to the test. The total distance covered can be anywhere between 600 km to over 5,000 km with terrain ranging from sandy dunes, forest roads, mountain roads, and dry river beds; among others. [1] [2] [3]

Contents

The most well known rally raid is the Dakar Rally; a marathon rally which can last anywhere from 10 to 15 days. Other prominent marathon rallies include the Africa Eco Race and Silk Way Rally. Well known examples of cross-country rallies include the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge and Rallye du Maroc. The Baja Aragón is an example of a cross-country baja with the Baja Russia Northern Forest taking place entirely in snow. Other examples of rally raid races include the TransAnatolia Rally Raid, Hellas Rally Raid, Borneo Rally Raid, and Raid De Himalaya.

The first African rally raid run was the Côte-Côte Rally, first held in December 1976. [4]

While the sport is most known for the Dakar Rally, a number of international and national series are also run. Internationally the World Rally-Raid Championship, co-sanctioned by the FIA and FIM, is the annual world championship for long-distance rally raid events; including the Dakar Rally. The shorter cross-country baja events are administered separately with the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas and FIM Bajas World Cup. National cross-country rally championships are held in Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, and South Africa, among others, while a Europe-based regional cup was introduced in 2021. For amateurs the Budapest-Bamako has been considered the world's largest amateur rally raid spanning two continents and 9,000 km. [5]

Navigation is primarily accomplished using a paper or digital roadbook in conjunction with a digital odometer to measure distance. The use of GPS or GPS-enabled devices, in contrast with desert racing, is not allowed. Competitors have no knowledge of the course until they receive the roadbook and any sort of pre-running is prohibited; which highlights the adventure aspect of rally raid. This is in stark contrast to rallying and desert racing where pre-running or reconnaissance is required or recommended for optimal performance on the course. The roadbook that is used is not as precise as the pacenotes used in stage rally, making navigation just as important as the driving. Bike and quad riders also have to navigate on their own while riding their vehicle; making concentration key during a rally raid event. [6] [7]

Vehicles and classes

Rally raid is made of various different categories and classes of vehicles. Regulations from the ASO, [8] FIA, [9] and FIM [10] define the rules for each category.

Moto class

The Moto class is divided between three groups: RallyGP, Rally2, and Rally3. RallyGP is the top moto class with riders and manufacturers eligible for the World Championship in FIM rankings. This class is only open to the most experienced competitors while Rally2 is available to any rider not considered RallyGP. Rally3 is for moto-enduro machines adapted for rally use. All three have a maximum capacity of 450cc. Rally2 and Rally3 are given World Cup status in the FIM-rankings.

Popular motorcycles include those made by KTM, Yamaha, Honda, Kawasaki, and Husqvarna because many of their bikes have finished in top positions. BMW motorcycles and Triumph have also been successful in the Dakar.

Quad class

The class for quads was originally a sub-class for the larger moto-class, but has been given more prominence in recent years. The class also has World Cup status within the FIM.

Car class—T1 and T2

Bowler Wildcat rally-raid vehicle Bowler Wildcat Goodwood 2005 cropped.jpg
Bowler Wildcat rally-raid vehicle

The car class is made up of vehicles weighing less than 3,500 kg (7,716 lb) and subdivided into several categories. The T1 Group is made up of Prototype Cross-Country Cars and is subdivided into four primary categories: T1.U, T1.1, T1.2, and T1.3. T1.U (T1 Ultimate) is a recent category built exclusively for vehicles running on renewable energies; such as the Audi RS Q e-tron. T1.1 (4x4) and T1.2 (4x2) are open to vehicles running on petrol and diesel fuels; including the Mini John Cooper Works Buggy, Toyota Hilux, and Peugeot 3008 DKR. Subclass T1.3 is open to vehicles conforming to SCORE regulations. This includes the Hummer H3 buggy and various other buggies.

The T2 category is open to Series Production Cross-Country Cars; primarily the Toyota Land Cruiser and Nissan Patrol.

Other prominent examples in the Car Class included the Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero, the Volkswagen Race Touareg, the Bowler Wildcat 200, the Mini All4 Racing and the Nissan Navara.

Lightweight and SSV class-T3 and T4

While originally a sub-class under the car category and later a combined class; the T3 and T4 classes have been recently separated into their own respective categories.

T3 vehicles are officially described as Lightweight Prototype Cross-Country Vehicles and can include purpose-built machines such as the Red Bull OT3 and PH-Sport Zephyr while also allowing modified variations of vehicles built and sold by Polaris, Kawasaki, Yamaha, and Can-Am. The T4 category is for Modified Production Cross-Country Side-by-Side (SSV) vehicles; such as those built by Polaris and Can-Am, but built closer to production standards.

Both categories must weigh no more than 3500 kg and are eligible for their own respective FIA World Cups.

Truck class—T5

Kamaz 4326 modified for Dakar Rally DakarRallyTrucks10.jpg
Kamaz 4326 modified for Dakar Rally

The Truck class, also known as "Camions" or "Lorries" is made up of vehicles weighing more than 3,500 kg (7,716 lb). While originally designated as Group T4; they have recently been solely given the T5 category with the T4 group now referring to Side by Side (UTV) vehicles.

Made up of both Prototype and Production Cross-Country Trucks; the class has been dominated by trucks built by Russian manufacturer Kamaz. Other competitors include Iveco, Hino, MAZ, Tatra, LIAZ, Mercedes-Benz Unimog, Renault Kerax, and various others. A FIA World Cup is awarded to drivers and manufacturers in this class.

Notable events

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FIM Bajas World Cup

The FIM Bajas World Cup is the premier championship of baja-style rally raid racing, organized by the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) since 2012. Along with the main world cup for 450cc, there are world cups for the following categories: Quads, Women, and Junior. Unlike the much longer cross-country rallies, cross-country bajas generally take place in 2–3 days. As is the case with rally raid events the stages are long and arduous testing the skill and endurance of the riders.

The 2020 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship was set to be the 18th season of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, an international rally raid competition for motorbikes and quads. Due to COVID-19 pandemic all events and thus the season, were canceled.

The 2020 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies was set to be the 28th season of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies; an annual rally raid competition for cars, buggies, side-by-sides, and trucks held in multiple countries. Due to COVID-19 pandemic all events but one were cancelled, and FIA considered that only one event wasn't enough to award a World title and cancelled the season.

2020 Dakar Rally 42nd edition of the Dakar Rally, held in Saudi Arabia

The 2020 Dakar Rally was the 42nd edition of the event and the first edition held in Saudi Arabia. The event started in Jeddah on 5 January and finished in Al-Qiddiya on 17 January after 12 stages of the competition.

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The 2021 FIM Bajas World Cup season was the 10th season of the FIM Bajas World Cup, an international rally raid competition for motorbikes, quads and SSV.

The Jordan Baja is an international baja-style rally raid cross-country endurance racing event held in the Wadi Rum desert, in Jordan. The event had the status of a World Cup Baja round in 2021 for both FIA and FIM championships. Jordan Baja had 559 competitive kilometres in a total route of 859 km for 2021 with 15 motorcycles and five quads in fray in the near-by deserts of Wadi Rum. Competitors from 15 nations took part in the fourth round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas, Round 2 of the FIM Bajas World Cup and a National Baja was also held along with the two international-status events.

2022 Dakar Rally Rally event

The 2022 Dakar Rally was a rally raid event held in Saudi Arabia and the 44th edition of the Dakar Rally organized by Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO). The event took place between 1–14 January 2022. This was the third time Saudi Arabia had hosted the event, with support from the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation. The race started in Ha'il and ended in Jeddah, going through canyons and cliffs in the Neom region, passing by the Red Sea coastline, into to stretches of dunes surrounding Riyadh, with a lot more action on sand dunes in the Empty Quarter. The route consisted of one prologue stage and 12 normal stages, with one rest day in Riyadh on 8 January.

The 2022 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship is set to be the 19th season of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship; an international rally raid competition for motorbikes and quads. The season will see significant changes to the organisation of the series. Amaury Sport Organisation, organisers of Dakar Rally as well as events such as the Tour de France, will become the official promoters of the championship. This will be the first time in the championship's history that a promoter will be in charge of the series.

World Rally-Raid Championship

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Group T1 FIA cross-country rally car group

In relation to motorsport, Group T1 is a set of technical specifications for prototype cross-country cars used in off-road Cross-Country Rallying. The group is governed by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) and defined in appendix J, article 285 of its International Sporting Code. The cars are single unit builds and may be based on a spaceframe chassis unlike the strict series production bodyshell requirement in Group T2. However, the engine must come from, or be derived from a production car able to be homologated in Group A, Group GT or Group T2. The cars must be powered by one engine and without driving aids such as traction control or ABS.

Group T2 FIA cross-country rally car group

In relation to motorsport, Group T2 is a set of technical specifications for series production cross-country cars used in off-road Cross-Country Rallying. The group is governed by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) and defined in appendix J, article 284 of its International Sporting Code. The cars must use a bodyshell and apart from safety features such as a roll cage and upgraded suspension and wheels, must retain features of the series production car unlike the thoroughbred race prototypes in Group T1, which have more freedom surrounding the chassis build and other parts. The cars in T2 must be homologated with a series production build requirement of 1000 identical units.

References

  1. "FIA Cross-Country Rallies General Prescriptions – 2019" (PDF). fia.com. 10 December 2018. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  2. "2019 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship Regulations" (PDF). fim-live.com. 13 February 2019. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  3. "2019 FIM Bajas World Cup Regulations" (PDF). fim-live.com. 12 February 2019. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  4. The Motorsport Memorial Team. "Motorsport Memorial". Motorsport Memorial. Retrieved 2017-08-20.
  5. Race Dezert http://www.race-dezert.com/home/the-trans-saharan-budapest-bamako-rally-49536.html
  6. "Top Five Differences Between Desert Racing And Rally Raid - race-deZert.com". race-dezert.com. 15 January 2016. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  7. "FAQ". sonorarally.com. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  8. "Regulations DAKAR 2022". dakar.com. Retrieved 4 January 2022.
  9. "FIA CROSS COUNTRY RALLIES". fia.com. Retrieved 4 January 2022.
  10. "FIM Documents". fim-moto.com. Retrieved 4 January 2022.