The roles and responsibilities of the co-driver or navigator range from pre competition all the way to post-competition.
These range from planning the trip, search and book hotels, make entries in the evidence to dispute … to even manage the website with which team activities are promoted or layout dossiers for finding sponsors. The co driver will do whatever he/she can in the amount of time he/she has and even help with the luggage of the driver during the days before the race.
As this part of the roles and responsibilities are usually to be arranged with the team, we will focus on the co-driver’s roles in the competition.
As the saying goes, “A co-driver has never won a rally, but can definitely make you lose one”.
- To begin with, in the days allocated by the organizer of the rally to recce the special stages, you must guide the driver through maps and directional roadbook(s) to the start/finish and other places of interest of the rally within allocated hours marked by the organization.
Through the first pass you will write the pacenotes in the note book the driver dictates and you transcribe it in your own (shorthand) ‘language’ in order to read them out during high speeds as the driver wants to hear them.
- At the same time you must have the road book open with the route, telling the driver which direction to take at each intersection encountered and the exact distance where it starts and ends.
- Along with the driver (and/or the team) the co driver must go to the documentation and technical scruteenering and submit all the documents.
- If you are declared OK for the start, the next step is going to the ceremonial start (if any) and if not, directly to start the rally or to the parc ferme.
- During the race, the navigator will be responsible to indicate to the driver the time and where you have to be to punch the time card correctly at the time controls set by the organization.
- It is your responsibility to follow the route strictly through the road book supplied by the organization.
- Calling out the pacenotes in the special stages with appropriate intonation and rhythm.
- Time sections for comparison with the times of the organization.
- Make corrections to the pacenotes you deem appropriate for repeated passes.
- Discuss times with other co-drivers to have a reference over the course of the rally.
- Calculate the required amount of gasoline between fuel stops depending on the kilometres of special stages and liaison.
- Indicate time available for repairs to the mechanics at service stops.
If the rally went well and once the finish is reached, to attend the awards ceremony.
– Although the rally does not always end with a win, it is important to be aware of the published final classification in case there is something unsatisfactory. Only then you can put the subsequent complaint in time (according to the regulations of the specific rally).
Depending on your results or random draw you might need to attend scrutineering at the end of the rally as well.
– If unfortunately you have a crash or retirement, you as a navigator must run back on the stage to signal other cars as a warning of a crash ahead. Navigators must have an SOS/OK Board which they must display to passing cars. OK if they don’t need any attention and SOS if there is an injury or another reason for the following cars to stop.
After all this you can imagine the joy that ‘showers’ you after the race.
All these roles will be described in further detail later in “a rally from start to finish”.