WRC ORLEN 80th Rally Poland
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Starts: Thursday, June 27, 2024 at 8:00:00 AM
ERC Delfi Rally Estonia
Estonia
Starts: Friday, July 5, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM
Ferratum World RX of Sweden 1
Sweden
Starts: Saturday, July 6, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM

Wed 09 Nov 2022

What happens during a pre-rally test?

With Europe’s top rally drivers split by the finest of margins, it’s becoming increasingly important for crews to find ways to gain the edge.

That’s where testing comes in. It is, essentially, a practice session - usually held just a few days before each rally - where teams have the chance to make unlimited runs over a selected piece of road in a non-competitive environment. 

Of course, every rally is different, so it’s important that the test road is representative of the conditions which will be faced in competition. Once that’s nailed down, drivers will complete back-to-back passes throughout the day, tweaking the car and settings as they go. 

“For sure, when you’re testing, you’re always looking to find the right compromise between good grip and managing the tyre wear,” ERC champion Efrén Llarena said at the Team MRF Tyres Rally di Roma test. 

“We’re changing things like suspension, anti-roll bars and also the gearbox differential settings, which is also very important depending on whether you prefer a strong front of the car or maybe a little bit more of a sideways car.

“We usually do 50 or 60 kilometres on average,” Llarena continued. “It really depends. If you have a good feeling with the car you could stop after 40 kilometres, but if you want to change more things you could end up doing 70 kilometres over the day.”

It’s not just the car which benefits from a pre-event test either, as Simone Campedelli and Mārtiņš Sesks explain:

Come testing with Team MRF Tyres

“Everybody is getting really prepared before every rally,” Campedelli said. “You can’t really afford to lose time in the first loop of stages because otherwise the rally is already done. 

“The gaps between the top drivers are very small - sometimes even tenths of seconds. Because of that, testing before the rallies has become more important over the years”

“It’s a day when we can improve ourselves as drivers and remember all the tricks of the car,” Sesks added. “It’s very useful to get us into shape, up to speed and find the right set-up.”