Types of Rally Cars
The type of Rally Cars does change with the type of race. Stage racing is the professional branch (or at least dominates it) and is ran in “specials”.
Whether on asphalt, forest, or tarred road, the car remains the same but for a technique that changes to suit the track type. The other type of race is road racing which is done solely on the main roads and is widely used today to test cars.
Groups of Rally Cars
Rally cars are divided into ‘groups’, just like how motorbikes are divided into classes for the various levels from Moto1 to the MotoGP. Instead of classes, rallying uses groups. There are 12 groups in total, with two of them having special names, the ‘Early Era’ group, which consists of cars like the Mini Cooper (think Mr. Bean’s ride), Ford Fairlane, Renault Dauphine, which were used in the early years of Rally racing. There is also the ‘World Rally Car’ group, which is used is the senior professional class of rallying The Ogier’s, Loeb, and Latvala’s of the world).
Some of the cars include; The Subaru Impreza GC 2000, The Citroën Xsara WRC, Citroën DS3 WRC, Ford Focus WRC.
Sebastian Loeb, the most decorated driver in World Rallying, won the championship a record nine consecutive times, with a Citroën Xsara and the Citroën DS3
The other groups of cars, are known simply as groups and are named according to the type of races they are used in. The groups 2, 3, 4, and B, were used between 1966 and 1986, and now obsolete. The groups A, N, and R are still used, alongside the RGT class, which are used in Gran Turismo races. The Super 1600, and 2000 are used in amateur racing. One other group, Group S, is also obsolete and no longer used.
Hatchbacks in rallying seem like a tradition, and we could get all technical with the reasons but… Why not?
Why rally cars are hatchbacks?
In rallying, there is a great need for a higher center of gravity. These cars do not run on smooth terrain all the time, sometimes zipping over slippery little mountain passes, or drifting in the ice or asphalt, even just burning through the tar. Hatchbacks give less drag on the terrain (known as overhang) making it easier to negotiate bends, twists, airtime, and still maintain handle and grip, than a Sedan, which theoretically is more aerodynamic, but its longitudinal body makes it more suitable for smooth roads
(you don’t see Hatchbacks in NASCAR, do you?)
However, a simpler answer to this would be that the WRC rules favour Hatchbacks ?