Western India Automobile Association (WIAA) has been organising the all-women Rally to the Valley TSD-format car rally for years now. We witnessed the rally up close last year and we’re now back in Mumbai for the 2020 edition which is set to flag off on 8 March. It is indeed a very fitting day for the rally to take place as the world observes International Women’s Day on the 8th of March every year. Besides the driving itself, the rally has an objective to spread awareness on women’s safety as it passes along various landmarks in Mumbai and then onwards to Aamby Valley City.
WIAA yesterday held a briefing for the participants so the drivers and navigators are aware of the rules, dos, and donts of the rally. On our part to assist the same, the following are some of the queries that are frequently asked by participants.
In very simple words, the Rally to the Valley is not a race and you’ll not be required to do speeds over 40 km/h. It isn’t about who reaches the finish line in Aamby Valley first. The objective is to reach the finish line within a pre-specified time (not a minute after and not a minute sooner either). The route to the final destination is not disclosed to the participants and the use of GPS is not permitted. To ascertain the speed that you need to do in order to stay on the clock, there are simple formulae.
Navigation is key
The navigator plays the most important role in the team since it is their job to make correct calculations and keep an eye out for Time and Passage Controls. The route is kept and hence the navigator’s comprehension of the Road Book becomes key. There are penalties for arriving before or after ideal time at Time Controls (penalties for going faster than the stipulated time are double than going slower). The penalties are minimum for participants whose times match closely with the ideal time.
The roadbook or Tulip is the backbone of your attempt at winning the rally. The roadbook will direct you to take the correct path by way of easy to understand symbols and diagrams (or tulip arrows) along with some other route information to confirm your current location. The roadbook will also contain total distance, distance to go and distance intervals between two tulip arrows. It will be handed to the navigator at the start of the rally.
Time control and passage control
The navigator should easily be able to spot an approaching time control which will always be on the left of the road. A time control notes down the time when you cross it to ascertain how much faster or slower are you progressing on the route. It is mandatory to check-in at these time controls or your times will simply not be recorded leading to disqualification. Stopping for a stamp at passage controls is also mandatory although, your time will not be recorded at these. Passage controls are simply located at undisclosed locations to make sure all participants are following the same route and pass through the checkpoint.
The use of mobile phones will not be allowed during the course of the rally and the participants’ units will be sealed in a box. There is a set of stickers provided by organising body WIAA. Failure to put them up will lead to disqualification. The cars will also have decorations on them, however, teams must adhere to rules prescribed by the WIAA about the total height of the vehicle at about 6 feet. All passengers in the car must wear seat belts at all times (including rear-seat passengers).
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