Looking at a Rally Stage – Where We Stand, Exactly

This snowy video was shot at the Jari-Pekka Ralli in Heinola, Finland this month. It shows quite a few offs, with the cars barreling directly at the spectators because, well, once a rally driver becomes the passenger there’s not that much one can do except hold on and make a grimace. It’s up to the spectators not to stand in the direct tangent line from the point where a rally car would leave the road, isn’t it? At least that’s the common understanding over here at the Hooniverse Water Cooler™.
Check the video and our comments after the yump.
 [youtube width=”720″ height=”480″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0CXl8xBgEw[/youtube]

Eric Rood: But the trees will stop the cars!
Kamil Kaluski: What was the blue car? (3 minute mark)
Antti Kautonen: Skoda Favorit, I think. Immediately as it settles there’s a frustrated Finnish voice saying “Would you *please* get the f*ck out of there.”
Greg Kachadurian: So some guys are nearly pasted by multiple flying rally cars yet THEY DON’T MOVE??
Antti: Safety in numbers!
Kamil: Look, you can get hit with a foul ball at a baseball game, but ya still go to the game…
Greg: “You don’t have to be the furthest away from the flying Skoda, you just have to be further than the closest person to the flying Skoda” I guess.

Alan Cesar: A foul ball is very unlikely to smoosh you as flat as a flying Skoda, unless it’s a very large ball. I’m also not sure the “you don’t need to outrun the bear, you only need to outrun your friend” logic applies to flying Skodas because of their voracious appetite for spectators.
[Source: Pata 78 Motorsport Videos / YouTube]

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  1. ptschett Avatar

    Personal-injury litigation evidently works differently in Europe as compared to the US.
    I was at Ojibwe Forests/10,000 Lakes Rally in ’09, which I learned about from taking a vacation day to ride my motorcycle on some of the rally-route forest roads the day before.
    Both spectator areas where I watched were set up so there was no plausible tangent line for racecars to enter the crowd; rally officials were actively policing the crowd to keep people from entering the danger zone; and running out to help a stuck car was strictly forbidden. (e.g.: when Caswell’s #318 BMW got stuck in the signage at the corner, though he was toward the end of the running order, we had to stand there and watch while they got un-stuck.)

    1. engineerd Avatar

      This is true. Even at non-official spectator areas on Rally America stages there are course marshals that make sure onlookers aren’t putting themselves in danger.
      Europe in general seems to take a more Napoleonic view of things. If you put yourself in danger and something bad happens then it’s on you.

      1. outback_ute Avatar

        I think the Scandinavian rally crowds are given credit for their collective experience, eg when people run to help a car someone will be on lookout duty so that they can clear the area in time. There aren’t too many other places that would work.

      2. Vairship Avatar

        Also, the Finns have a special relationship with their forests, as can be seen in that video: it is only after the car has crashed that they suddenly appear, out of the woodwork so to speak. Just ask any Russian over the age of 80 or so, they’ll be able to tell you all about that Finnish magic…

      3. Dean Bigglesworth Avatar
        Dean Bigglesworth

        Varies a lot between European countries though. Last year I drove in the Lithuanian Press Rally, and one of the tracks was a public park with some tarmac walkways made into a track. Some plastic ribbons and maybe a hay bale or two for safety. It was hilarious fun, but would never be allowed in Finland for example.