Active differential : The central differential on 4-wheel-drive cars, which uses computer data to transmit torque to the wheels with the best grip to maximise the car’s performance. Since 2006, active front and rear differentials have been banned and replaced by mechanical systems.

Administrative organiser (OA) :  A person or entity responsible for looking after the administrative side of the organisation.

Aerodynamics : The bodywork on the cars has spoilers, splitters, strakes and other carefully-designed devices to channel cool air around the engine, gearbox, brakes, etc, and also to maintain the car’s grip on the road/track at high speed.

Air restrictor : The air feeding the combustion chambers has to pass through an air restrictor to limit the power of the engine when required to do so by the regulations.

Allotted time : The time allotted by the rally organisers to a car to cover a liaison section outside the race. Penalties are handed out in case of late or early arrival.

Car 0, car 00, car 000 : Checks the overall system that the CH and CPs are working, the position of the public in the spectator zones, respect of the RTS, car going through the SS at H-30 to H-10.

Car with French or national flag : Check that everything’s in place. It goes through the SS at H-75.

Co-driver : He/she is in the passenger’s seat and guides the driver on the itinerary by telling him/her of the coming difficulties.

Crew safety  : The crew is protected by a roll cage and each member is belted in with a 6-point safety harness. The car has a sealed automatic extinguishing system, and both driver and co-driver wear fireproof clothing, a helmet and the Hans system, which provides support for the head and vertebrae.

Driver’s clothing : The crews in the rally wear a driving suit consisting of three layers of fireproof material as well as fireproof underwear and a fireproof face mask under their helmet.

FIA : The Federation Internationale de l’Automobile, the Paris-based governing body for worldwide motorsport which regulates and controls the World Rally Championship.

Finishing line : The end of a stage when the clock stops.

Gravel crews : On asphalt rallies, priority drivers are supported by a gravel crew who pass through the stages in advance of the competitors to report back on weather and changes to the surface condition, which might have changed following reconnaissance.

Gravel setup : Choice of tyres and suspension setups to give the car the maximum amount of power on the route of a special stage with a gravel/earth surface.

HANS ® system : Obligatory safety equipment. In English HANS means head and neck support. It is worn on the shoulders and around the neck and it reduces excessive head movement towards the front in the case of an accident: it can also prevent the driver’s head and vertebrae from suffering seriously injury.

Intercommunication : A radio link that helps the driver to hear the instructions given by the co-driver. The headset and mike are integrated into the helmet.

Launch control : A system that gives the driver a quicker getaway from a standing start. It includes a device that prevents the engine from stalling.

Leg : A day’s rallying

Liaison section/stage : The public roads which link the stages, service zones and parc fermé. The drivers must respect the traffic rules on the liaison sections.

OTL : Over time limit. Competitors arriving more than 30 minutes later than the target time between two time controls, at the end of each section and/or day of the rally are said to be OTL, and must retire from the day’s competition.

Pace notes : The notes read out during a special stage by the co-driver to tell the driver of the coming difficulties on the itinerary through an intercommunications system.

Parc ferme : The secure area where all competing rally cars are housed at the completion of a day of the rally.

Points : For the Drivers’ and Co-drivers’ World Championship points are awarded at the end of each rally to the first ten crews according to the following scale: 25, 18, 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1. Additional points are awarded to the first three in the Power stage (3,2,1). For the Manufacturers’ World Championship points are awarded to the first ten nominated crews according to the following scale: 25, 18, 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1. All results are counted to establish the final overall classifications of the championships.

Power Stage : Rallies must include a Power stage to improve TV coverage. This stage generally measures 4 to 8 kms and ends the rally.

Priority : The starting order of the drivers for each leg decided according to their success in previous rallies and the times set in each stage.

Public zones : Zones prepared by the OT to welcome spectators in optimal  safety conditions: only zones where the public is allowed.

Race suit : Rally crews wear racing overalls containing three layers of flameproof material, plus flameproof underwear and a flameproof balaclava under their safety helmet.

Recce : Recce takes place according to a programme defined by the organizer. Crews can cover each stage twice maximum. Speed is limited and checked by GPS.

Reconnaissance vehicle : A standard road car (with safety equipment) which the driver and co-driver use to reconnoiter the itinerary before the start of the rally to write their notes.

Restart : A crew that has retired during a day of the rally can restart the next day after being given a 5-minute penalty for each stage it has not finished or missed (minimum penalty, 10 minutes). The crew is allowed three hours service to prepare for this restart.

Road book : All the instructions and maps of the itinerary given to each crew by the rally organisers.

Road-opening car : Dealing with retirements, a car going through the special stage (SS) after the last racing car. After it has gone through the SS, the stage director, the authorities and the road department authorities will take the decision to open the road either partially or completely to the public. Very important: the passage of the road-opening car is not a sign that the road is open to the public again.

Road section : Sometimes called a liaison section, this is the public road which links the special stages, service points and parc ferme. Drivers must obey all applicable traffic laws on road sections.

Roll cage : A structure consisting of thin steel tubes with carbon welded in the cockpit and designed to protect the driver and co-driver in the case of an impact or rolls.

Running order : On the first day the crews start the stages in the order of the World Championship for Drivers’ classification. Then the starting order is defined by the classification of the previous day. There are two-minute minimum intervals between starts.

Safety car : Validation of the SSs by the technical organiser as the car goes through the stage at H-60.

Scrutineers : Officials who check the compliance of the cars before, during and after the event.

Sequential gearbox : A system using a lever or paddles to effect sequential gear changes (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) when changing up or down. The majority of gearboxes are semi automatic and fitted with an electro- hydraulic mechanism, which controls the accelerator, clutch and gear changes.

Service park : Service is strictly forbidden outside the times and places defined by the rally programme. The crew members can work on the car at all times (outside the parc fermé) with the help of the on-board equipment. Services can be carried out in the main parc or in distant zones. The only people allowed to work on the car are the crews and the eight mechanics identified by armbands. During a distant service the equipment that can be used is reduced to a minimum (jack, pressure pins, hand tools). Repairs must be carried out with the parts carried in the car.

Setup or shakedown : A test session during which the crews can check the performance of their car on terrain similar to that of the rally before the start.

Signals : All the equipment used to inform, warn and guide the competitors, the public and the officials.

Sound, radio and video car : A car goes through the SS at H-45 to remind the public of the safety rules and provide information.

Special stages : Timed stages in the rally (also called special stages). Drivers and co-driver must do everything in their power to set the best time.

Stage time : The time recorded from the start of the stage until the finishing line has been crossed.

Stop control : A zone 200 to 500 metres after the finishing line where the car has to stop to have its time validated.

Studs : Metal inserts for snow tyres to give better grip in snow and icy conditions.

Superspecial stage : A stage – often set up in a sports stadium – with two parallel tracks that enable two drivers to race each other. Superspecial stages are also run in city centre locations but tend to adopt a pursuit-style format with a handful of cars competing on the stage at the same time, albeit separated by gaps.

Target time : The official time allowed by rally organisers for a WRC car to complete a non-competitive road section. Time penalties are applied if competitors check-in earlier or later than the target time.

Technical organiser (TO) : A person or entity in change of setting up the sites and infrastructures of the rally, in particular the safety plan.

Testing : Private testing is forbidden outside the nine countries in Western Europe. A manufacturer can organize 10 test sessions over 42 calendar days per year.

Time card : Carried by the co-driver, the time card is a record of stage times and time control arrival times throughout the rally. The card is stamped by event officials as the rally progresses and provides proof of a competitor’s whereabouts in case of a dispute.

Time control : The place where cars must stop to get an official passing time recorded by rally officials.

Time penalty : The rally crews receive a 10-second penalty for each minute’s late arrival at a time control – whether it’s at the start or finish of a stage. Arriving early at a time control results in a 1-minute penalty for every minute in advance.

Turbocharger : An ancillary part of the engine consisting of a turbine and a compressor wheel, which are linked by a shaft. The turbine is driven by the exhaust gases, which in turn drive the compression wheel whose role is to compress the inlet gases improving the rate of filling the cylinder thus enhancing engine performance.

Tyres : The manufacturers must designate a tyre manufacturer complying with the specification of the FIA for the whole season. The number of tyres per crew is limited by the supplementary regulations of each rally. A car can carry two spare wheels maximum.

Very high risk zones (THR) : Zones presenting great danger in which reinforced signalling may be put in place to remind the spectators that they are allowed in the Public Zones only.

WRC Team : A WRC Team can score points in the World Rally Championship for Manufacturers providing it participates on at least seven nominated rounds, including two outside Europe, with one or two World Rally Cars of the same make and type.

Zero car : A course car driven through a stage before the competitors start it to alert spectators that the section is live. The zero car is preceded by the triple zero and double zero cars.

Follow us on Twitter