Experience a lap with a pro rally racer in full 360-degree video!
Admit it – you occasionally spend hours on YouTube, watching footage from vintage rallies and pining for days gone by, don't you? That's okay, we're guilty of occasionally overindulging in classic motorsports footage ourselves. Case in point: this swinging little number featuring the Renault 8 Gordini, circa 1964.
Robert Kubica seems to have more bad luck than most top-tier race car drivers, but maybe that's because his high-profile crashes since 2011 have garnered more media attention than his achievements. When we left off with him last month, he was within spitting distance of winning WRC2, and he indeed won the championship in late October. Now here's the bad news: he crashed out of his first full WRC event on Friday, ESPN F1 reports. Fortunately, Neither Kubica nor his co-driver were injured.
Rally ace Sébastien Loeb had a rare off in the final World Rally Championship race of his career, as the wet tarmac at the Rally of France saw the French star deposit his Citroen DS3 WRC into the forest. Loeb, who won the WRC's Driver's Championship every year from 2004 to 2012, and co-driver Daniel Elena emerged from their car unscathed.
Fast cars and excellent driving skills might be the easy answers when asking how to succeed in rally racing, but after watching this video, a good teammate is obviously an important aspect of this sport, too. During the 2013 Rally of Coimbatore in India, driver Samir Thapar and his co-driver, Vivek Ponnusamy, didn't seem to be on the same page as the two attempted to navigate the course in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.
With a financial crisis ravaging the European automotive industry, many automakers have tightened budgets, and motorsports programs have, in many cases, been among the first things to go. That's the case at Ford and Mini, but it's the opposite at Opel, which announced its return to motorsports in the form of spec series for two very fun-looking hatchbacks.
Racing of any variety is inherently dangerous, and rally racing may very well be the most dangerous flavor of all motorsports. Niceties like track runoff and Armco barriers are replaced with sturdy oak trees, water hazards and some nice old lady's front porch. Hell, just getting out of the car post-off can be hazardous to your health.
Sebastien Loeb has won the World Rally Championship – with the same team – for eight consecutive years, and this year, he's so far ahead more than halfway through the season that he'd have to sit out two rallies to let the second-placed drive overtake him. Yet few complain about the predictability of the WRC, with complaints mostly about vehicle regulations and not Loeb's suffocating consistency.
Rally racing, like virtually every other form of motorsport in the world, is a dangerous activity. As much as we love watching a talented driver negotiate a tricky off-road race course with skill and luck, crashing is no doubt part of the experience as well. And crashes happen rather often in the world of rallying.
Valentino Rossi, certainly the greatest motorcycle racer of our generation, has no concrete plans to leave MotoGP. In fact, after an extremely disappointing first season with Ducati in 2011, we'd wager he'll be sticking around for at least a few more years to prove he's still got what it takes to win at the highest level when competing on competitive machinery.
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