In a lot of ways, rally racing is the most exciting kind of auto racing. With cars that are street legal, drivers generally race from point A to point B on closed public roads or somewhere more off the beaten path, rather than in repetitive circuits or laps on a track. Unpaved, rural terrain often results in some crazy, logic-defying moments from drivers who are as good as any out there.
Here are four of the best rally racing videos we’ve seen.
The first thing we noticed upon starting the video was the mountainous landscape and epic amounts of dirt. The Dirtfish Racing School in Washington state, referred to in the video above as “a skate park for adults,” offers multiple levels of mixed surface driving courses for those looking to rally in the wilderness. The student here, TV personality Blair Herter, is stoked to be in the driver’s seat — and he gets the throttling, breaking and spinning down pretty impressively. The terrain definitely doesn’t permit a smooth ride, but that’s what the sport is all about. The instructors seem pretty awesome, too.
This is a school we wouldn’t say no to attending.
Dirt Country Road
In this video, one of the best known rally car drivers of all time puts a new car to the test on an almost impossibly thin dirt country road. Throughout the video, you’re probably watching and thinking to yourself, “How is it even possible that he’s managing to stay on the road?” And that’s justified: dirt has incredibly low traction, meaning that every time he hits one of the curves or twists in the road, you expect to see him just slide off the path and into the grass. But that never happens — things get even more nerve-wracking when he enters the woods and is bordered on both sides by rocks and trees. Still, the car keeps the path, and, between artfully slowed-down images of it hitting water and taking turns, you get to appreciate the craft of both the vehicle and its driver.
In The Driver’s Seat
You can’t truly appreciate what it’s like to drive a rally car unless you feel like you’re in the driver’s seat — and this first-person video goes a long way in illustrating the insanity. The driver is constantly turning the wheel one way and then the other, most likely to try and maintain the car’s tenuous hold on the road. At that speed, and with that kind of uneven surface, constant adjustments are necessary. Since the driver is also going too fast to make navigational adjustments just by seeing what’s on the road ahead, he has a co-pilot calling out instructions to him, which gives the whole thing an element of urgency that wouldn’t be there otherwise. This front seat companion sounds incredibly freaked out, and yet, they get through the ride with flying colors.
Speaking of freaked out: here a rally car is cruising along at impossible speeds with the driver navigating what appears to be a road carved out along the lower swell of a mountain. As he takes one curve, it appears that a tire is punctured and the car begins to waver back and forth, never really slowing. The driver manages to keep things under control, but then goes right between a gate lining both sides of the road, still wobbling. The fact that the car don’t strike the gate at all is a miracle. His co-pilot utters an exclamation of disbelief, and you definitely can’t blame him.