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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Everyone,

In light of recent things I’ve seen in this sport, I would like to develop a “scenarios list” that my co-driver and I should develop action plans for. I would like it if those experienced individuals could list some scenarios and possible reactions that one might take in these situations. For example:
• What do you do when you pass a stuck competitor at the start of the rally vs the end of the rally?
• What do you do when you car catches on fire?
• What do you do when you notice when a timing error puts you behind another competitor in the dust vs being first on the road (this one actually happened to me)?
• Etc.

Thanks, this will really help in scenario planning for rookies like myself and possibly keep me, another competitor or the car alive and well.

JC
 

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My first 3 rallies, I pulled someone out of the ditch at each one. It is really good to bank that rally karma early.

If the car is on fire, do not stop under a tree if at all possible, red cross the stage if you can't contain.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks phlat. Any others? I know there are tons of situations we have all been in so hoping to start a list of "wish I would have thought of that at the time" scenarios to help inexperienced teams.
 

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Good idea for a thread. I'd love to hear some of this stuff.

We got a flat on the last stage of Oly, the change went ok but could have been better with knowing who is going to grab what and some practice before hand.
 

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Flat tire: Decide before hand what distance from the finish you continue or stop to replace. I know some teams have this established. The driver asks how far to go, co-driver says GO or STOP.
 

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flat situation

As previous mentioned you need to get an agreement on how far to run on the flat. In addition I will look for "radio controls" in the route book. I transfer this information into the notes. There is often times enough room at the "radio control" to change the flat.
 

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My responses inline.

• What do you do when you pass a stuck competitor at the start of the rally vs the end of the rally?
>>> Can't think of a scenario where it makes a difference whether it's the start of the rally or the end of the rally. If you are able to and willing to pull them out, SAFELY, then do so. If not, then have the co-driver mark the location of the car on stage (instruction / mileage / notable landmark etc.) and report location of stuck car to finish control worker.

Note: a 'stuck competitor' is different from a competitor who has had an off. If the competitors have had an off, but are displaying 'OK' signs, and the car does not present a danger to oncoming competitors e.g. car upside down across the middle of the road, then proceed as above: continue to end of stage, and report location to finish control workers. If no competitors are seen / no 'OK' sign is displayed / 'red cross' sign is displayed, that is a red cross situation, and you must stop and render assistance. Both you and your co-driver should be familiar with red cross procedures. If not, please read up on that section in the rulebook. At many rallies, the organizers will go over red cross procedures at the driver's meeting and/or in the supps, incl. any particular details for that event e.g. emergency contact numbers etc.

• What do you do when you car catches on fire?
>>> Stop as quickly as necessary, if danger is severe. Your own safety is paramount. Communicate to one another that you are planning to stop, and plan of action e.g. who is going to grab which fire extinguisher / which door you are going to get out of if one side is on fire etc. If danger is not immediately severe, try to pull over in a clearing where the likelihood of something else catching fire as well is minimized. A likely scenario is the fire is in the engine bay e.g. oil line comes off and sprays hot oil all over hot turbo or headers. At first, do NOT open the hood. Opening the hood can give the fire more air, and cause it to flare up. Try to see where the source of fire is and spray through the radiator or hood scoop etc. to get to the source before opening the hood. If the fire subsides somewhat or doesn't seem to get worse, you could cautiously try to open the hood. This would totally be at your own risk, and would be a judgement call based on the current state of the fire, the number of fire extinguishers you have on hand, your estimate of how difficult you think it would be to put the fire out etc. I have seen cases where once an engine catches on fire, it simply won't be extinguished using just a couple of 5 lbs. extinguishers, it's gonna need professional response i.e. firefighters or it's simply going to burn to the ground. At that point, all you can do is maintain a safe distance, and if it's possible for the next competitor to get past to notify the next radio control point then they should do so. Never go backwards on stage towards oncoming rally traffic on a hot stage. For the above to go as smoothly as possible, it's best to identify ahead of time, from the route book, where the radio control workers are stationed; and if it's the first time riding with a new co-driver, let them know where the fire extinguishers are, and have a rough plan of who is going to grab which extinguisher etc. Of course, the plan may need to be adapted depending on the situation, but it's worth having a basic plan outlined.

• What do you do when you notice when a timing error puts you behind another competitor in the dust vs being first on the road (this one actually happened to me)?
>>> Notify the next control worker you see. Explain the situation to them, especially if it could be a safety issue e.g. fast competitor in fast car now positioned at back of pack, and ask them to rectify the situation. If they are unable to, or you are unhappy with the solution, ask them to make a note of it in their logs, and file a protest when you next get a chance.
 

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Some more:

• What do you if you get a flat?
>>>I don't have a set distance before which I change / after which I continue. Too many variables e.g. is the tire totally flat or just partially flat? is it the front tire or the rear tire? is the road rough or smooth? is the road slow or fast? how many miles to go? is it the last stage of the last event of the year and you are ahead of your nearest rivals on the road, or is it the first stage of a club rally you are just doing for fun? is the flat interfering with anything else on the car? how is the car handling? By driving out on the flat are you going to mess up some really tight points competition in a class of competitors just behind you? (If so, good sportsmanship would usually dictate you would stop, or at least keep a look out for them and pull over to let them pass at the nearest opportunity).

Generally speaking, unless the flat occurs near the beginning of a really long stage e.g. 10+ miles, it'll probably be quicker to finish the stage on the flat & change it once you are PAST the finish control time control boards. In order to make your determination, it helps if you know roughly how long it will take you & your co-driver to change a tire e.g. 4 min, expected average speed before, estimated average speed now, number of miles left. Since that kind of information is difficult to estimate & it's complex to calculate the best course on the fly, unless it's a really bad flat on the front at the beginning of a really long and/or fast stage, most competitors choose to simply drive out on the flat unless it becomes more of a problem e.g. tire gets caught / starts ripping bodywork off / front driver side cuts Subie wiring loom etc.

If you do need to change a tire on stage, find somewhere safe to stop e.g. towards the end of a long straight where the following competitors will be able to clearly see you from a distance, and the road is wide enough for them to pass i.e. not just on the other side over a blind crest. You may also want to pull over on the side of the road that the flat is on, so you are working on the side of the road, and not sitting in the middle of the road on a hot stage trying to change a flat. It also helps to have a strategy ahead of time e.g. who is going to run back with the triangle (*** should be placed on same side as car is off on, far enough in advance for competitors to take appropriate precautions / action), who is going to get the jack / get the impact wrench/tire iron / get the spare tire out / take the tire off / put the spare on / put the flat in the trunk / ***retrieve the triangle***. You can do it on the fly if you communicate well, but it often helps to have a basic strategy laid out. Note: with the adrenalin rush, and the desire to minimize any time lost, there is a temptation to get going again and do up your belts etc. along the way afterwards. Since we are not racing for significant prize money in the U.S., and the amount of time lost by stopping to change the flat has likely taken you out of contention at the front of your class, it is highly advisable to get properly situated and buckled in before setting off again at speed. Note also that there is a small window of danger between when you have finished changing the flat, and have just retrieved the triangle, but not started off again. This is where it helps to have pulled off somewhere safe, and to carefully check before pulling out back onto the stage (if necessary or you're no longer in a huge hurry because you're now out of contention), wait for the next car to pass, and then start off behind them. Note: even that isn't foolproof though, because the next competitor behind them may have caught them, and be in the dust just behind them. So check carefully before pulling back onto a hot stage.
 

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• What to do if you come across public traffic on a hot stage?
STOP. Throw the red cross. Stop you & stop them. If they insist they are just going half a mile down the road to their house or camp or whatever, sternly explain that they could be killed, or be responsible for someone else being killed if they continue down a hot stage towards oncoming traffic. Red cross procedures take over from there e.g. next competitor goes to next radio control point so they can radio stage start to stop any more cars proceeding down a hot stage etc.
 

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• What do you do if you realize you just pulled away from the finish time control and don't have your time card?
>>> You may not reverse in a control (or anywhere on stage for that matter). Stop the car, and have the co-driver walk back to the stage finish control to retrieve your time card.
 

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• What do you do if you have already checked in, and are sitting in the time control, and realize you have a flat or some other mechanical problem?
>>> Since it's a 10 minute penalty for servicing in a control zone, start the stage as normal, and pull off once you have passed the 100 yard board, signifying the end of the control zone past the stage start (if there is no finish control zone board, err on the side of caution, and go at least a couple hundred yards). Note: you may want to tell the stage start workers what you plan to do, so they can alert following competitors to be on the lookout. Pull off somewhere safe, change tire there. Continue. Of course, depending on the nature of the problem, it may be worth taking 10 minute time penalty, and any potential late start penalty, if you think the problem will take longer to solve than the amount of time you will be penalized.

• Conversely, what do you do if you discover you have a flat or some other severe mechanical problem just before you entering a time control zone / checking in?
>>> Since late check in penalties are usually only 10 secs per minute or 12 secs per minute (normally specified in the supp regs), it's probably worth fixing the flat first, and then checking in late, since you'd actually lose less time that way. Of course, if it's nothing severe, you can try and fix it on the next transit (once you are 100 yards past the finish time control zone, not the stage finish, you still have to clear the stage, and go to the FTC, get your time entered on your time card, and go 100 yards past the FTC). Note: if the start control zone is backed up, if you have already checked in with your time card, you are technically still in a time control zone, whether or not your car is physically inside the time control zone or not.
 

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• What do you do when you notice when a timing error puts you behind another competitor in the dust vs being first on the road (this one actually happened to me)?
Had that happen to me. I posted faster stage times then the car behind, but he got reseeded ahead of me.
I did nothing about it
due to an other competitor missing his arrival time the truck that got reseeded ahead of me got a huge dust window , (prescott, at night, worst dust i've ever seen)
I got screwed by the reseed, with the truck ahead of me and having like a 6 minute window he was faster, i was driving very blind much of the stage.

hind sight? i think having the navigator inquiry, or at least ask the guy doing the reseed is worth while.

Though I'm not sure about fixing reseeds ?!?

I've also had a timing error at Idaho, Navigator asked T&S to check the time cards, error was found easily . (something like giving me a 12:34 instead of a 10:34) mistake was also big enough that i pointed out the car behind me should have actually passed me on stage if my time was correct, but they didn't pass me. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Had that happen to me. I posted faster stage times then the car behind, but he got reseeded ahead of me.
I did nothing about it
due to an other competitor missing his arrival time the truck that got reseeded ahead of me got a huge dust window , (prescott, at night, worst dust i've ever seen)
I got screwed by the reseed, with the truck ahead of me and having like a 6 minute window he was faster, i was driving very blind much of the stage.

hind sight? i think having the navigator inquiry, or at least ask the guy doing the reseed is worth while.

Though I'm not sure about fixing reseeds ?!?

I've also had a timing error at Idaho, Navigator asked T&S to check the time cards, error was found easily . (something like giving me a 12:34 instead of a 10:34) mistake was also big enough that i pointed out the car behind me should have actually passed me on stage if my time was correct, but they didn't pass me. :)
When it happened to me the competitor in front of me didn't bring driving lights and I was chasing him down for the overall win. I caught him on stage and since it was the last stage of the rally and was dark, I was pushing to make sure I stayed ahead but ended up driving virtually blind through a number of corners (and series of corners) using the notes only as my guide. Scary stuff. Came close to having a major off a couple of times on that particular stage. In the future, I will demand a re-seed if I think there is a chance of catching the guy in front of me. However, in that event, we figured we wouldn't but really didn't factor in him not having driving lights.

PS Audi - Great stuff! Keep it coming...
 

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Great thread
As mentioned, some of these scenerios have only moments for you to react to them, and if you have not planned ahead of time it'll cause you a big problem if / when they happen to you. Experience is a great teacher, but listening to the experience of others is even better ( and cheaper) .

It's been mentioned, but let me re-iterate. Know your car and where all the gear is stored, as well know where the fragile parts are - A left front flat on a Subie is, in my opinion, a STOP no matter how far ( unless you've added some protection - HINT, HINT- ) imagine how much time you will loose when the tire cuts the wiriing harness that's above that little plastic splash shield and you are looking at 50+ wires that need re-connecting - pretty much a for sure DNF / season done 'til you replace the harness. I've seen it take out a factory team.

All cars have vulnerable places that it pays to keep in mind, especially after a small off when you are deciding if / what has to be done, to continue.
 

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Just thought of a PS

Extend the scenerio planning to your service crew. Make sure everyone knows where everything is and what HAS to be done at service - back to my comment about everycar having "weak " points I used to crew for a 323GTX Mazda and a mandetory part of every service was remove the wheels and dig out the gravel from the brakes - then figure out what else needs repair ( not much usually).
 

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• What do you do if you realize you just pulled away from the finish time control and don't have your time card?
>>> You may not reverse in a control (or anywhere on stage for that matter). Stop the car, and have the co-driver walk back to the stage finish control to retrieve your time card.
Very, very good advice, in the RA rules, but NOT in the NASA rules. I grew up in the RA rules and about had a fit when one of the Irish backed up in my finish control to complain about something (We were right :) ). No rule in NASA RS.

Don't do it, rule or not. It's dangerous. Workers are expecting one way traffic.
 

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Is it a rule that you can't back up anywhere on the special stage? or just in Transits?

like if you get stuck on a bank, and back up to get back on the road, Penalty ?

if you back up to tow someone off a berm? penalty?

Thinking back of Gorman when i wanted to try and give Welker a pull, but i would have had to 1) back up, 2) completely block the stage on a narrow narrow road. i was fwd and open diff at the time so there was a Great chance the car behind me would have came around the corner to see a car trying to be pulled off.

Piers helped me make the safer decision to continue on. ( i did feel bad about it) but there was really a good chance i would be held up a minute or more. (last time i pulled someone off a berm it was about 45 seconds before i was moving on stage again, but that was on a wider road with 2 minute windows)

maybe we had 2 minute windows ?? i don't recall .

Anywho answers anyone? hehe
 

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Interesting question...
For what it's worth up here in CARS land, the only mention of reversing is in a control zone, which is a 10 minute penalty. However there is a penalty for " balking " ( unreasonably delaying another competitor ) and I would think blocking the road to pull someone out would count, and that is up to the steward but could mean exclusion from the event.

In all cases keep in mind SAFETY first, anyone you find in a ditch has been there at least 1 minute - so are effectively out of contention in the rally. My normal role is course closing and I really hate seeing anyone DNF an event, and will do my best to pull people out and keep them in it, but have had a few cases of breaking tow straps to make me think about safety first, if they are really in we have a big tow truck to pull them out after they DNF. The last strap that broke put a hole through my tailgate ( not a big deal - I work for a bodyshop - for now I'm leaving the hole as a reminder ) BUT I am happy it hit my truck rather than a spectator /crew member
 

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If you have a radio in the car get the rally net frequencies and program them in before the event starts. And not just to listen to what's going on. Make sure you can transmit (offsets, tones, etc). At the scene of an incident is not the time to learn how to set up your radio. Rally nets do not want teams broadcasting on their frequencies but of course you can if it's a safety or emergency issue. For those who don't know, if there's an emergency, wait for the next break in net traffic and call "break! break!" and wait for acknowledgement. Your codriver should be in the habit of marking the notes whenever you stop or see a reportable issue so you know exactly where you are. It's not so helpful to report a position as "about half way in". :)

One more thing, most radios have a lock feature. Learn how to use it and makes sure it's locked when not in use. Especially in a rally car it's quite possible to switch frequencies or even key the mic accidentally. And if you use APRS (like us) switch it off before moving to a net control frequency. We're guilty of that - sorry guys - lesson learned.

Simon
Rallye Driver
USUK Racing
 
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