Sun-baked tracks snake through the hills and mountains of the Argolis region in the Peloponnese. Not for the faint-hearted: loose gravel roads, abrupt hairpin bends and narrow, vertiginous trails test the nerve of even the most confident drivers. Best not cut any corners on this one; a sheer drop awaits those who try and fail.
Monte Carlo, Monaco
Monaco’s world-famous Monte Carlo rally takes you on narrow roads through the forested and mountainous region of the principality. This rally may be on seemingly friendly tarmac, but the wintery conditions complicate matters: ice and snow create a treacherous surface, while fog limits your view of the upcoming road. A co-driver’s pace notes have never been so important.
The tree-lined tracks in the heart of the Welsh countryside are perfect for rallying. Waver from the middle of one of these narrow roads and you’ll encounter ditches, banks and fences – and even one clip could send a speeding rally car into a spin. When it rains, and in Wales it frequently does, roads become slippery and a racing line becomes even more difficult to maintain. Watch out for those puddles, too – they can be deeper than they first appear…
Pikes Peak, USA
The world’s preeminent Hillclimb rally may take place on nice wide tarmac roads, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’ll be easy. You’ll need a car with awesome horsepower if you’re to make it to the top in good time, and it’s a battle to keep these cars on the road, especially when that nice tarmac gives way to gravel. Oh, and have fun in those hairpins.
The hard, dry, flat stages of the German rally make for some of the fastest you’ll ever drive. When the sun’s out there’s no excuse for not completing a stage error-free, but sprinkle a little summer rain on those roads and the corners and breaking distances become much more testing.
Lydden Hill, England
The birthplace of Rallycross, Lydden Hill is the perfect venue to showcase the discipline. This is where rally meets circuit racing, with drivers going head-to-head on courses composed of dirt and tarmac sections. You must able to adapt to the sudden change in the surface and style of racing – it's a full contact sport, so don’t be afraid to race elbows-out.
The Finnish rally is characterized by its fast, tight, undulating roads. Its stages run through the country’s vast wooded regions, where jumps are frequent and perilous. At this speed, there’s no margin for error; if you don’t plan ahead and position the car correctly for landing, you will total it.
With an asphalt to gravel ratio of roughly 2:1, expect the racing on Norway’s premier Rallycross circuit to be fast and furious, with plenty of opportunities for powerslides and overtaking. There are some tricky transitions too, where the change from one surface to the other happens just as you’re entering or exiting a corner.
Värmland and Höljes, Sweden
Rallying through Värmland in winter means snowbound stages and lots of them. Most of the snow is piled up on the roadside, but even these soft snow piles are a serious hazard. Nudge one and your car gets pulled off the road or worse: you’ll flip it. And when fresh snow falls, visibility drops to just a few metres. Elsewhere in the country, the venue for Sweden’s own Rallycross event is Höljes, a circuit with myriad routes, chicanes and fast jumps.