Timing At The Rallye Monte Carlo Historique

I have been asked several times about the timing method used at the Rallye Monte Carlo Historique.  As a result, I have put together a couple of sketches that I hope will assist in explaining the timing method used.

The first thing that I want to show is how the concentration stages are held in order to bring all of the rally competitors together.  For 2016 there were five starting cities for the Rallye Monte Carlo Historique for the competitors to choose.  The five starting cities were as follows:

  • Glasgow, Scotland
  • Oslo, Norway
  • Reims, France
  • Bad Homburg, Germany
  • Barcelona, Spain

The schematic below shows the overall linkage between the starting cities as the competitors make their way to Monaco for the start of the regularity timed stages.  In the schematic below the starting cities are shown as circles, while the major controls are shown as triangles.

Concentration Schematic

2016 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique Concentration Schematic

As the teams move from control to control in the concentration portion of the event, the competitors are provided with travel times from control to control.  Distances and the routes were provided to the competitors a couple of months before.  The organizers add several Passage Controls to make sure that the competitors are following the selected route.

The organizers do not provide any time for re-fueling, eating, sleeping, servicing the car, or bio-breaks when traveling from control to control.  The competitors have to make their own time for these activities.  As a result, most of the cars are pushing all of the time to get ahead of schedule.  Any unused schedule time can be used to catch a brief snooze at the target control before checking in.  This event is challenging for both the car and the crew, so both need looking after.

At these controls, the crews are required to check in on their target in-time minute.  The in-time is measured to the minute, so crews have their full minute to check in.  A crew is considered as checking in when their time card is handed to the marshal at the control.  There is no timing line, light beam, or hose to drive over.  Also there is no “dead time” at these controls.  Your out-time from a control is the same as your in-time.

Once the rally moves into the regularity stages portion of the event, the timing changes slightly.  This is illustrated below.  When the crew leaves Control A they are given a time, in hours and minutes, to travel to Control B.  This travel time is added to the start time to get the target in-time at Control B.  The distance between Control A and Control B was provided to the competitors a couple of months before the event.  Using that information, you can work out the required average speed to arrive at Control B on time.

Controls Schematic

Control Times For Regularity Stages At The Rallye Monte Carlo Historique

As the crews travel from Control A to Control B, they will encounter the Regularity Stages or the ZR stages as they are called in the event.  The crews are not initially assigned start times for ZR1 or ZR 2, as shown in the example above.  Cars simply line up in order of arrival at the beginning of the ZR and cars are started on the next available whole minute.  Some times three or four cars might be lined up at the start of a ZR or maybe no other cars are there and you just drive up to the start line and start on the next whole minute.  Note that time spent waiting to start a ZR stage is time lost from the schedule to get to Control B on time.

The time card given to the crews when leaving Control A will have the target average speed for each ZR.  Weather conditions could change the target average speed for the ZR once the crews arrive at the start of the ZR.

The illustration below shows the timing methodology used by the organizers of the Rallye Monte Carlo Historique when the cars are on the ZR stages.  As noted above, the crews are given the required average speed to maintain on each ZR.

Regularity Stage Timing

Regularity Stages or ZR Timing Outline

As the organizers provide the target average speed for the entire ZR stage, they realize that it takes time for the cars to reach the target average speed because the cars are starting from a standing stop and therefore at the instant the car leaves the start line their average speed is zero.  As a result, the organizers have established a free zone that lasts for 1.0 kilometer beyond the start line.  No timing readings or controls will be located within the first kilometre.  It is not always easy to get to the target average speed within the first kilometre, but the crews have to do it to get a good score.

The time of arrival of the car is measured at several controls along each ZR.  There might be 7 to 10 or more controls per ZR.  The timing is measured by GPS.  Each car is fitted with a GPS system which is used for timing.  Crews have no idea where the controls are or when they are at a control.  The crews just have to be on time, all the time.  The car’s time is measured to the 1/10 second and for GPS controls penalties are assigned at 10 points for each 1/10 second off the perfect time.  Note that the perfect time at each control is determined by applying the required average speed over the total distance traveled from the start of the ZR stage.

I hope that this helps to explain the timing used at the Rallye Monte Carlo Historique.  If you have any comments or questions either leave a comment below or contact me directly by email at: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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3 Responses to Timing At The Rallye Monte Carlo Historique

  1. Jay Nemeth-Johannes says:

    Why would anyone choose to start in Glasgow then? Those cars have a disadvantage that they are subject to one more regularity section (Calais) than the other starting points. I guess I am missing something, but it would seem that the Glasgow cars would be better served by heading down to Reims and starting there.

    • Hi Jay,
      I would not disagree with your logic. This year there were only 6 cars that started from Glasgow. Each starting city puts on a quite a celebration for the start of the Rallye Monte Carlo Historique. It would not surprise me to find out that the Glasgow starters have a a great starting party. The initial transit times to the next control are a little generous, so it might not have been too difficult to make the Calais control in time. There probably is a ferry schedule across the English Channel involved or maybe they take the train. The northern English entrants might consider that they would have to drive to Reims anyway, so why not just start in Glasgow. Maybe a Glasgow starter will see this comment and provide the real decision-making process.
      The 13 cars that started in Olso had a slightly longer drive (about 80km) to Monaco than the Glasgow starters. Reims was the most popular starting city.
      Steve McKelvie

  2. Hi Jay (and Steve)

    In 2011 we could choose among 3 starting Cities: Warchawa, Marrakech and Glasgow.
    We chose Glasgow and it was the most commemorable start one can think of.
    I think there were 5.000 – 10.000 spectators at the start. For the first 1/4-mile from the start we were surrounded by yelling Scotsmen. I will never forget this and I might choose Glasgow another time because of the extraordinary atmosphere in Glasgow.

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