Rallying at international and most national championship levels involves two classes of homologated road legal production based car; Group N Production cars and more modified Group A cars. Cars compete on closed public roads or off road areas run on a point to point format where participants and their co drivers rally to a set of points, leaving in regular intervals from start points. A rally is typically conducted over a number of special stages on any terrain, which entrants are often allowed to scout beforehand at reduced speeds compiling detailed shorthand descriptions of the track or road as they go. These detailed descriptions are known as pace notes. During the actual rally, the co driver reads the pace notes aloud (using an in helmet intercom system) to the driver, enabling them to complete each stage as quickly as possible. Competition is based on lowest total elapsed time over the course of an event s special stages, including penalties.
The top series is the World Rally Championship (WRC), first contested in 1973, but there also regional championships and many countries have their own national championships. Some famous rallies include the Monte Carlo Rally, Rally Argentina, Rally Finland and Rally GB. Another famous event (actually best described as a rally raid ) is the Paris Dakar Rally, conceived in 1978. There are also many smaller, club level, categories of rallies which are popular with amateurs, making up the grass roots of motor sports. Cars at this level may not comply fully with the requirements of group A or group N homologation. As well as the WRC other major rally events include the British Rally Championship, Intercontinental Rally Challenge, African Rally Championship, Asia Pacific Rally Championship and endurance rally events like the Dakar Rally.