Crosswords

Ever feel confused by the specialised terminology spoken in rallycross? This will be the RallycrossWorld guide to help you understand the difference between ALS and launch control; the place we offer a simple glossary for the sometimes complex language used to explain what is happening, or what didn’t happen.

Anorak
1 A warm, but probably not very trendy, coat.
2 An informal term for an obsessive person. Considered derogatory in some circles, we think to be an anorak is a badge of honour. qv geek
Anti-Lag System (ALS)
ALS is a system used to help maintain turbocharger speed, and thereby, boost pressure, even at small throttle openings. This is achieved by the ignition of fuel and air in the exhaust system that has the effect of keeping the turbocharger spinning. It’s also the thing that makes rallycross cars snap, crackle and pop!
ASN
Authorite Sportive Nationale, the national governing body of motor sport in any given country.
Asphalt
Generic term for the ‘sealed’ surface in a rallycross track. Strictly, it’s a natural or oil-derived bituminous pitch.
Bar
1 A measure of pressure equal to 100,000 Newtons per square metre, or one atmosphere. Used for tyre pressure and boost pressure.
2 The place in which rallycross dreams are hatched, victories celebrated, losses commiserated, etc.
Boost pressure/boost
The measurement by which pressure in the induction system exceeds atmospheric pressure, qv Bar.
Component failure
Euphemistic catch-all term that could also be read as; ‘something made by one of our sponsors broke and put us out of the race’.
ECU
Engine Control Unit – the box of electronic trickery that monitors and controls engine functions, sometimes referred to as 'engine management system’.
FIA
The governing body of motor sport, the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile, which is based in Geneva.
Clerk of the Course
The official appointed by the ASN or organising club, responsible for the safe and correct conduct of an event. qv Race Director.
Coleyisms
Excited verbal ejaculations from the voice of World rallycross. qv rad, mega, have-it.
Driver aids
Usually electronic trickery designed to help the average stay safe in their road car but which can make the average look great in a racecar. Traction control would be the greatest of these abominations, none of which are to be found in rallycross.
Ethics
A flat place to the east of London.
False start
Starting before the signal to start the race is given. Also ‘jump start’. An automated system detects the movement of cars on the grid and identifies any car that starts early, and automatically aborts the start procedure. Any driver making a false start is penalised by having to make two passes through the Joker Lap in that race.
FHR
Frontal Head Restraint – the generic term for an item of safety equipment worn by drivers and designed to help prevent neck injury in the event of an accident.
Final
The last race of the event or for any given category in an event. The starters in which are usually decided by the results of the semi-finals, or from the Intermediate Classification in events or championships where semi-finals are not run.
Final semi
State of excitement ahead of the last race of the weekend.
Floppy
A (usually) plastic post or stick used to help define the the edge of the track (track limit), specially in unsealed sections.
g-force
Where ‘g’ is for gravitational. Widely used to express force of acceleration and deceleration where “3g” is taken to mean three-times-normal-weight. The precise scientific definition is a little more complex and should be sought in a more specialised source than this.
Geek
Informal honourable/derogatory term for an obsessive fan, qv anorak.
Gravel
Generic term for the unsealed surface in rallycross tracks. Strictly, it’s defined as a loose mixture of small stones.
HANS device
A particular type of FHR.
Have-it
Exclamation used for ‘take that’, ‘got you’ etc.
Intercooler
An air-to-air cooling device usually placed at the front of a car and in which cool air (from the action of the car moving forward) helps to reduce the temperature of induction air. Compression by the turbo raises the temperature of this air. Cool air is better than hot air.
Intermediate Classification
The classification produced at the end of the qualifying races and before the finals. In World and European Championships (and some other series) there is also an allocation of championship points at this stage of the event.
Joker Lap
An alternative section of track through which each competitor must pass once in every race. It should be configured so that it is slower than the standard lap. Invention of the Joker Lap is widely attributed to Svend Hansen and was first seen in Sweden in 2002.
Jump start
qv False start.
Kerb
Raised and textured feature used to define corners and the edge of the track (track limit) on race circuits
Launch control
An electronic system that helps maximise start line performance by controlling engine revs. Systems allow turbocharged cars to create positive boost while on the grid and will typically have several settings to allow for different grip levels in the grid. Launch control must be disabled as soon as the car is in motion.
Mega
From the Greek megas ‘great’. Widely used and abused to mean anything from thanks to absolutely amazing.
Naturally aspirated
An engine that is fed by atmospheric pressure alone, one that does not have a turbo.
Parc ferme
A controlled area in which cars are isolated prior to being checked by scrutineers. No work can take place in parc ferme.
Push
A term shouted repeatedly by many spotters in an attempt to make their driver go faster.
Practice
An official part of an event in which drivers are able to learn the track, test their cars, etc.
Pre-grid
The area, usually behind the starting grid, where cars are assembled for the subsequent races.
Race Director
Appointed by the FIA for major events. Has authority for the correct conduct and safe running of an event. Superior to the Clerk of the Course.
Rad
1 Shortened form of radiator, device that allows cool air to pass over elements containing hot water for cooling effect.
2 Word used by those seeking to effect coolness as in: “Man, that’s rad!” which roughly translates as: “I say, that’s rather good!”
Ready to race
In World Championship events, the sign incorporated in the starting lights that tells drivers the starting procedure has begun.
Reserve
A driver or drivers who have not been selected to take part in an event, but who may be able to start if one of the accepted entrants withdraws. Also, one or more drivers who, at the Intermediate Classification have not qualified for the semi-finals but who may be able to start if one or more of the qualifiers fails to make it to the grid in the prescribed time.
Scrutineer/scrutineering
Scrutineers are the technical officials responsible for checking safety and eligibility of cars, a process known as scrutineering.
Sealed
The regulatory definition for the part of a rallycross track (between 35 and 60%) that is not unsealed. Sealed surfaces can be asphalt, concrete, etc.
Sem-eye
American for semi which should, of course, be pronounced 'sem-ee’.
Semi-finals
Two races that follow the qualifying races and the Intermediate Classification and determine which drivers progress to the final.
Spotter
A tactical and observational role for a team member who is in radio contact with their driver and can give information about the race, especially when to take the Joker Lap. Minimum qualification is the ability to remember that one lap must be the Joker Lap!
Technical Delegate
Appointed by the FIA to work with, but superior to, the scrutineers.
Testing
Usually private use of a track to test and develop a car. In the World Championship there is a testing ban at a circuit in the 56 days prior to its World RX event.
Turbo
A compressor driven by exhaust gasses which is used to raise the induction pressure (boost) and increase power output.
Tyre-cleaning
The act of making a practice start when moving from pre-grid to the grid, ostensibly to remove any dirt that may have accumulated on the tyres while moving through the paddock.
Unsealed
The regulatory definition for the part of a rallycross track (not less than 40%) that is not sealed. Unsealed surfaces can be consolidated or stabilised, earth, gravel, etc.
White gloveing
Engineering personnel who do no physical work.
Yoker Lap
Swedish for Joker Lap.