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X Games 16 Rally Practice Day - Click above for high-res image gallery

The practice day for the X Games 16 Rally competitors is in the books, and despite plenty of preparation the teams face some unexpected challenges at the new venue. The drivers first took to the makeshift dirt track at the L.A. Coliseum early yesterday afternoon and quickly found that the setup isn't ideally suited to automobiles - or at least anything with bumpers. The course features two major elevation changes, going up and out of the stadium and then back in again, and nearly all of the drivers are having difficulty with the latter. The entrance back into the stadium is so steep that drivers are forced to either come in extremely slowly or catch air and plow the front end of the car into the dirt. To make matters worse, an uneven track surface at the bottom of the descent causes the cars to go airborne again. It may be fun to watch, but it's undoubtedly frustrating for the drivers.

Interestingly, the one feature of the track that usually gives the drivers trouble - the jump - is no problem at all. Most drivers initially seemed cautious before making their practice runs, but they quickly realized that not too much speed is needed, and soon thereafter they were easily clearing the gap on every lap.

Overall, the current track layout at the new venue is disappointing. The course is essentially one large loop featuring all right turns, with the two elevation changes and the jump thrown in. Much of the course is fairly narrow as well, which will make the SuperRally either very boring (no passing) or very interesting (lots of bumping and crashing). We'll reserve judgment until we actually see it happen, and we fully expect the addition of actual competition and tens of thousands of fans to make things more exciting. Stay tuned for more live X Games 16 rally coverage this weekend.



Photos copyright ©2010 Drew Phillips / AOL


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  • 12 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      So who designed this setup? They shouldn't be allowed to design another SuperRally course.
      • 4 Years Ago
      If anything that I must do before I die is that I want to become a rally driver. Sigh* must get rich first...
        • 4 Years Ago
        Look into SCCA RallyX in your area. I have done a couple events in my tC and it was a blast - even with fwd. Seriously worth looking into.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Epic Fail.

      This really sucked bad. I don't know much about rally but it can be fun to watch. This was such boring TV; I'd be so disappointed if I bought tickets to that sham. Who designs this stuff? Is it designed by people looking to make money or by people who really know the sport? I know the commentators wanted to really rip into the event organizers but couldn't. The Super rally was way too tight; I wish my girlfriend was like that. Every race had technical problems which I assume seeing these are world class teams has to be the venue's problem. If it didn't have technical problems the rally drivers couldn't figure out the course which was a design issue. The only solution the commentators had was for them to have copilots/drivers/navigators. The X games is great for some things; they have pushed for everything to be arena/stadium based for spectator reasons. This rally thing though is really a cheap rip off though. I hope the organizers fix this because it is bad for the sport.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Rally in a stadium is fail. It's way to small to be interesting use the infield of a nascar track or something huge.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Really? It's fail? Is that why the Race of Champions does it every year? Also, it isn't just in the stadium, it's half and half like it has always been.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Can you possibly tell me how the Race of Champions is totally unrelated to what they're doing here?

        2 seperate tracks that intertwine each other where the drivers are on 1 track during the first lap, the other track on the 2nd. Hmmm, seems pretty similar to me.

        Oh wait, are you saying they're different because of the top level drivers that compete in Race of Champions? Because that would sound a bit biased.

        And seriously, you totally missed the point j was trying to put across about them coming from racing in natural surroundings. But hey, your ignorance would explain that.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The rally car event was an epic fail. Turns were wayyy too tight, didn't give the drivers freedom to choose their own line, and the track layout was confusing as what. They changed the layout 4 times on Saturday, which is why there was only 1 or 2 races that didn't end in a red flag for an off-course or terminal damage. They need to do a real rally/rallycross event or don't do it at all; the current event is giving rally a bad name.

      Hopefully SuperRally doesn't suck quite as much...
        • 4 Years Ago
        Edit: SuperRally was better, but the turns through the pillars were still way too narrow, not allowing much passing in the tighter areas where it otherwise would have been possible.

        ESPN/XGames really need to get a rallycross professional or someone who has been in Rally/WRC for a while to help with the event and track layout, because this event was really embarrassing for the sport IMO. Even straight up copying a WRC Super Special stage (WRC Portugal anyone??) would be better than this year's track.