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All you wanted to know about rallycross but were afraid to ask

Rallycross is a global phenomenon, and understandably so: with its anti-lag popping engines, six-foot jumps, full-on door-to-door sideways action, and stadium-like venues, this is a motorsport very much of its time. But while audiences find it easy to fall in love with the rough-and-tumble nature of the sport, for drivers, rallycross demands a unique set of skills―the car control of a rally driver combined with the analytical mind of an endurance pro and, of course, a big dollop of Moto GPesque-like bravery.

In order to experience rallycross at its very best in Project CARS 2, Yorkie065’s Insider’s Guide this week takes you on an in-depth tour of this unique and fun motorsport.

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Driving Techniques

With the rallycross superlite cars, which don’t have the power and torque of the rallycross supercars, employing a more traditional racing style can pay dividends. This is the same type of finesse you’d use on ice or snow, where you want to do your braking in a straight line and induce minimal slide/slip angle through the turns.

Once you’re into the rallycross supercars, though, your driving style will need to change radically. With these 0-100kmh in sub-2 second monsters, you have all the torque needed to get out of the most radical slip angles; and those radical angles means you can throw your car into a turn and get it rotated quickly.

Rallycross is a violent sport; and not only violent because of the barge-and-elbow-out nature of the racing. The way you have to drive these cars is equally violent. It starts with how you brake: unlike normal tin-tops, rallycross cars need you to get onto the anchors single-seater style―hard and heavy. Once you’re on the brakes, it’s time to start throwing the car into the turn―you want to provoke the rear to break traction, because getting it rotated early means you can hammer onto the power a lot earlier.

Once you’re getting this right, it’s time to move up a notch to one of the most beautiful and difficult manoeuvres in all of motorsport―the Scandinavian Flick. It’s pretty, it’s exciting, and it’s a skill you absolutely have to master if you want to hang with the best. It’s also about the most fun thing you’re going to do in a racing simulation.

The “science” behind the Scandinavian Flick is really quite simple; what you’re doing is transferring weight laterally, from one side of the car to the other. When you get hard on the brakes, you’re doing similar, except the weight transfers from the rear to the front, giving you―in theory―more “bite” at the front axle which, in turn, helps you turn in. With the Flick―which sees you turn away from the corner briefly, before flicking the wheel into the direction of the turn―the sudden weight transfer will unsettle the car, causing it to rotate sideways. This, with a simultaneous dabbing of the brakes, can induce a progressive shallow slide, which is ideal for long sweeping corners.

You’re also going to have to get accustomed to using the handbrake, particularly through hairpins and chicanes where you want to induce sudden rotation.

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All of this is going to take a bit of practice. For sharp hairpins, get on the brakes hard, turn in while still on the brakes, get the rear sliding, use the handbrake if you need it to rotate even further, and get on the gas as early as you can. For longer, sweeping turns, get into your Flick, opposite-lock your way through with elbows-out, and try not to grin too much…

Once you get the hang of those critical techniques, you’ll be able to start employing some even more refined rallycross tricks. Using the track’s bumps and kerbs to break traction, for instance, is a very effective way of inducing even more rotation by shifting the car’s weight.

This being rallycross, of course, the surfaces on the tracks are designed to be both asphalt and loose. The transition between loose to asphalt, or vice-versa, means grip will alter; use these changing surfaces to your advantage. For instance, if you’re all tail-out on the loose stuff, don’t worry about trying to correct if you’re about to get onto asphalt, because the sudden grip will bring the car back to you.

Finally, always listen to your spotter. If you’re braking, flicking, getting the handbrake on, using the inside kerb and fighting for position, chances are you won’t have the time to notice if another driver has stuck their nose inside―that’s when your spotter will become your most trusted friend.

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How rallycross works

Rallycross has its own set of rules, and here’s how it works. The assumption for the following explanation is rallycross in Career Mode with 18 total drivers.

The Joker in the pack

Understanding the Joker Lap is crucial for success in rallycross. During each race, each car must drive through an area of the circuit designated as the ‘Joker Lap’. It’s up to each driver, and their spotter, to decide when is the most opportune moment to do this, but it is mandatory to serve the Joker Lap once―and only once―in a race. Failing to serve the Joker Lap will result in a penalty, and serving the Joker Lap more than once results in a penalty too.

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Typical Weekend:

The weekend begins with 4 Qualifying Heats of 4 laps each, with 6 drivers in each race. Grid formation sees all cars alongside each other on the start/finish line. The starting position is random for the first qualifying heats, but for Qualifying Heat 2, 3 & 4, starting positions will be based off drivers’ fastest total race time from the previous qualifying heat.

Drivers score points in each qualifying heat―but remember that these don’t count towards the championship, and are just used for determining which drivers advance to the Semi-Finals.

  • 1st = 50 points
  • 2nd = 45 points
  • 3rd = 40 points
  • 4th = 35 points
  • 5th = 30 points
  • 6th = 25 points

Once all drivers have completed 4 Qualifying Heats, the top 12 advance to Semi-Final, with the Top 16 scoring Championship points as follows:

  • 1st = 16 points
  • 2nd = 15 points
  • 3rd = 14 points
  • 4th = 13 points
  • 5th = 12 points
  • 6th = 11 points
  • 7th = 10 points
  • 8th = 9 points
  • 9th = 8 points
  • 10th = 7 points
  • 11th = 6 points
  • 12th = 5 points
  • 13th = 4 points
  • 14th = 3 points
  • 15th = 2 points
  • 16th = 1 point
  • 17th and below = 0 points

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The weekend then continues with 2 Semi-Final Races (you will only compete in one). These are 6 lap races with 6 drivers in each race. The grid is composed of three rows of 2 cars, determined by point-finishing positions at end of the Qualifying Heats.

The Top 3 finishers from each Semi-Final race advance to the Final. Drivers score the following Championship points for their finishing position in their Semi-Final race:

  • 1st = 6 points
  • 2nd = 5 points
  • 3rd = 4 points
  • 4th = 3 points
  • 5th = 2 points
  • 6th = 1 point

The weekend now builds to its conclusion: One Final Race of 6 laps, with 6 drivers lining up on the grid in three rows of 2 cars, with starting berths determined by each driver’s finishing position in Semi-Final races. All 6 drivers score Championship points based on their finishing position in the final:

  • 1st = 8 points
  • 2nd = 5 points
  • 3rd = 4 points
  • 4th = 3 points
  • 5th = 2 points
  • 6th = 1 point

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