This year’s WRC Rally Sweden took place last weekend, and while Estonian driver Ott Tanak came out victorious, we’re not here to talk about his performance but, rather, marvel out how rally drivers are able to drive so fast on these conditions.
Motorsport pundits like to frequently say that Formula 1 racers are the best drivers on the planet. While they are undoubtedly extremely fast, we think rally drivers competing in the highest and most competitive forms of rallying may just edge them out.
Admittedly, F1 cars are much, much, much faster than even the quickest rally cars on earth. However, whereas F1 cars are limited to perfectly smooth racetracks with, nowadays, huge run-off areas in most places where drivers can get away with mistakes (Monaco excluded), rally drivers don’t have things so easy. In the world of rallying, positioning your car one foot too far to the left or right can result in disaster and a very serious crash.
Rally drivers also have to deal with a host of different road surfaces, none of which are more difficult to drive on than snow and ice. When competing across snow stages, rally cars are outfitted with specially-designed tires covered in hundreds of little studs to improve traction. By no means do these studs make driving on snow easy, however. Not when you’re going pedal to the metal, with your co-driver firing directions at you and differences between competitors often measured in seconds over an entire day!
The following clip was filmed during the Swedish round of the 2019 World Rally Championship and seeing the drivers powerslide effortlessly around corners is a truly extraordinary sight to behold.