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Rallying and Motorsports - Behind the scene

My first exposure to motorsports was during my childhood. I recall watching Disney movies about a Volkswagen car who had feelings named "Herbie" and the movies were based on the car's adventures.

But one particular movie stood out because of its plot. The car joins the Monte Carlo rally. As a precocious little kid, I also recall asking my parents what rallying meant? And my mother, who instilled in me the discipline of doing research at an early age told me, "Dear, why don't you look it up at the dictionary?" That was how I found out about rallying as a sport, which has flourished to this day.

And there are more interesting facts that I have discovered about the sport of rallying. Its origin can be traced back to the 1894 Paris-Rouen Horseless Carriage Competition when people who have their own visions of what a "horseless carriage" should look like entered the contest and winners were ascertained by the judges who rode in each car.

Eventually, it turned into a period of city to city road races primarily in France and it started components associated with rallying competitions today, individual start times with carraces against the clock, time keeping at beginning and starting areas in each town along the route and driving over long distances of rough and unpaved roads.

The Monte Carlo Rally started in 1911 by Prince Albert and takes place in Monaco. It is the first race for the FIA World Rally Championships. Winning a rally gives a car prestige and credibility in terms of a car's performance under tough and demanding driving conditions.

I often wonder why is there so much money poured in by sponsors into motorsports. Even if gas prices became unreasonably high last year due to a host of several factors I couldn't understand its importance. I figured if oil prices didn't go down to the levels that it is today, although its still high, will it still be logical to hold rallying events or any other motorsports for that matter? Wouldn't the sport be hurt and greatly affected if oil prices skyrocketed to for example $200 a barrel?

Then I saw the print ad for one of the big oil companies. The add states that it is through these races, whether it's rallying or formula one racing, that  the car manufacturers test their latest improvements in their respective vehicles, with these changes brought about by the manufacturer's research and development team.  And not only are the car manufacturers who benefit from this but also oil companies and tire makers. So, to win in any motorsport, the car who has the right balance in its engine make, tire selection and amount of fuel in order to meet the demands of the track conditions or the graveled road shall ultimately win the race.

Consumers ultimately, benefit the most. Improvements that were proven to be reliable are then passed to buyers of new automobiles as car manufacturers add these changes to make a better product overall in terms of a vehicle's safety attributes, performance under all conditions and gas consumption.

So next time you open the door of your new car, remember to thank those motorsport drivers who risk their lives for a few hours of adrenalin rush and made your car safe for you to use. That is if one doesn't drink and drive!

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Peri Witny is an author of Sports Articles.
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