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Secret Harnessed: WRC Rally Cars

2020-03-17

The drivers could leave the car on their own, unscathed. The WRC race car’s sturdy body had prevented physical damage to the drivers.

Thierry Neuville in Hyundai World Rally Team has taken the lead in Rally Monte Carlo. The victory marks an auspicious start to the team’s promising 2020 season, and now Hyundai World Rally Team is aiming for the manufacturer’s championship for two consecutive years.

Ott Tanak had a major accident but could leave the car on his own, unscathed.

But besides Thierry Neuville’s win, there was one moment that scared all the audience. During the SS4, Ott Tanak had a major accident. While zooming by with the speed near 180 km/h, his rally car slipped off the road and fell straight down the slope, causing the rally car to roll several times.

The car seemed brutally damaged broke their fans’ hearts. Luckily, Tanak could leave the car on their own, unscathed. The i20 Coupe WRC Race Car’s sturdy body had prevented physical damage to the drivers.

All rally cars including i20 Coupe are manufactured under the FIA safety regulation.

There specific regulations set by the FIA for material choice and sizes of tubes eligible for the roll bar and safety cell construction. Even sizes of bolts and nuts are strictly regulated. The roll bar is a vehicle frame designed to protect occupants in the event of a crash.

Hyundai World Rally Team uses high-quality polycarbonate that is usually used for airplanes or high-speed trains. Their drivers have never been brutally injured within the past 6 seasons after the team came back for the first time in 10 years.

Automakers have poured their resources to enhance not only the performance but also occupant safety.

WRC rally cars have a minimum amount of electronic devices for better speed and cornering. The rest is only the safety equipments for the driver and co-driver – bucket seats to support the body in a race, a quick-release to provide the ability to get the drivers out of the car quickly and easily in an emergency situation, and a fire extinguisher, for example.

Roll cage, also known as roll bar, is a vehicle frame designed to protect occupants in the event of a crash.

Roll cage, also known as roll bar, is a vehicle frame designed to protect occupants in the event of a crash. This is one of the most important elements of a rally car and this saved Tanak and the co-driver’s lives.

These are the specific regulations set by the FIA for material choice and sizes of tubes eligible for Roll cage and safety cell construction; Specifications of the tubes used: Minimum Material Cold Drawn Seamless Unalloyed Carbon Steel, containing a maximum of 0.3% of carbon. Dimensions: 45mm x 2.5mm or 50mmx 2.0mm, for occupant safety.

Roll bar is one of the most important elements of WRC rally car.

And here is another safety regulation: ‘The safety cages must not unduly impede the entry or exit of the driver and co-driver’. So the automakers make sure that any attachment point of a door bar to a vertical member of the roll cage is lower than the door.

Bucket seats in WRC rally cars are designed according to the shape of the driver’s body.

Bucket seats in WRC rally cars are designed according to the shape of a human body to provide advanced lateral support and weight distribution, which helps the driver withstand g-force while cornering. Along with roll bars, these are the most important element in rally cars. Automakers use their own special materials to make bucket seats.

Rally cars often bump into trees or other natural barriers. For this reason, the FIA regulation also states that rally cars must provide structures for supporting vehicular headrests that provide greater energy absorption capacity. The ‘energy absorber’ minimizes the secondary force on an occupant caused by the restoration of support structures and materials after an impact. In addition, the energy absorber drivers from getting injured.

The driver’s seat is full of safety features.

A HANS device (Head and Neck Support device) is a product which is part of a family of devices known as head restraints. Head restraints are safety items which are mandatory when competing with most major motorsports sanctioning bodies. These devices reduce the likelihood of head and/or neck injuries, such as a basilar skull fracture. HANS device is usually made of CFRP(Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic).

The seat belt of a rally car is very different from that of a regular vehicle. A 6-point harness, usually used in WRC, holds the occupant’s body tight and keeps it safe from any circumstance.

All composite material parts must be flameproof, according to the FIA regulations.

Rally cars can catch on fire, and automakers must be prepared for this. All composite material parts fitted directly on the engine must be made from fire-retardant material. The external face of the part must have a V0 level of acceptance respecting the “UL94” US standard (fire-retardance capability).

Also, the fuel tank must be contained in a close-fitting flameproof housing, and every racer must wear a fire-retardant uniform. Rally cars require a system with a minimum of 3kg of extinguishant, too.

*UL94 V-0: burning stops within 10 seconds on a vertical specimen

Safety regulations require drivers to be able to exit a rally car in seconds.

Safety regulations require drivers to be able to exit a rally car in seconds in the case of a fire, but it can feel like forever when the drivers are harnessed in a bucket seat. Quick Release helps the driver release the six-point harness, remove the steering wheel and open the door to get out. Just one button allows them to exit the car quickly under their own power.

Roaring rally cars might seem like they are only built for high-performance, but this is a beacon of safety.

Roaring rally cars might seem like they are only built for high-performance, but this is a beacon of safety. Automakers have poured their resources to enhance occupant safety, so the drivers can drive as wildly as they can without worrying about their own safety.