Courtesy of Red Bull Motorsports
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Rallying is very much a 2 man sport. The drivers, by their very own admission, could not achieve what they do without their co-driver. You might think the co-driver just reads the pace notes, but this is a job that is nowhere near as straightforward as it sounds. Pace notes are the key to navigating through the stages. However, if you get lost, the consequences can be drastic, as Daniel Elena found out in Turkey with Sébastien Loeb. The pair ran out of fuel and retired from the rally. Michael Park was with Markko Märtin in Kenya when he left his notes in the service park just before a 100km stage. Fortunately they had a spotter helicopter that was able to guide them through the rest of the test. Sometimes though, you just lose your place, as Carlos Delbario found out along side Xavier Pons in Germany… and Xavier didn’t carry much sympathy. A trip through the vineyard didn’t help Delbario’s plight, his guilt plain to see at the end of the stage. And then you might simply misread a note, but at over 100 miles an hour the effect is often catastrophic – as Paul Nagle found out in Corsica, 2018. Sometimes the job can be just plain painful. First Daniel Elena winded on a jump and could barely read the pace notes. Then Timo Rautiainen injured his back on the very same kicker. Worse was to come for Rautiainen, a steel pin piercing the bottom of the car in Turkey, and going through his seat. Even Marcus Grönholm was concerned. Sometimes you need to choose your driver more carefully. Guido D’Amore feeling the wrath of Gigi Galli. Gigi followed this up by breaking Giovanni Bernacchini’s nose when he threw him a bottle of water. Then there are the random little extras that come your way: Julian Ingrassia having to open a gate mid-stage for his driver Sebastian Ogier. Four years later back in Mexico, and this time it’s Anders Jaeger being asked to step out of the car. Mechanical skills are also a requirement but not often whilst the car is moving, Phil Mills had a case of the steering wheel coming loose mid stage and having to fix it while in motion, still finishing the stage in second. Phil was again on duty for an extra task when a bird came through the air intake mid-stage, not that Petter Solberg noticed. Finally, you have to ready for just about anything. Daniel Elena starring again as he was forced to act as ballast when they lost the rear right wheel. He had to then negotiate with local police who were not overly impressed with his new driving position. For a co-driver, it’s all in a day’s work. So, do you fancy having a go? One thing’s for sure: this is NOT a dull job!