Race Weekend Essentials: World Rally co-driver Alex Kihurani
Home » Gear » Race Weekend Essentials: World Rally co-driver Alex Kihurani
The World Rally Championship is a high octane test of man and machine on snow, ice, gravel and asphalt which tests its crews to the maximum.
One of the key areas where rallying differs from circuit racing is that there’s two people in the car, and over the last 10-15 years, technology has helped revolutionise how co-drivers and drivers work together to attack a rally stage with little more than a car and a book of instructions on where to drive.
Alex Kihurani competes in the WRC2 class with fellow American driver Sean Johnston in a Citroen C3 Rally 2-spec car. Kihurani’s mind was opened to rallying by his motorsport-mad father Gakuu and a set of rally VHS videos.
Just over 10 years ago he moved to the UK to chase his rally co-driver dream, and today he takes you inside his race weekend essentials bag to shine a light on the complicated and fascinating world as a rally co-driver.
Every rally starts with preparation and perhaps the key element of that preparation is the reconnaissance run (known as a recce, pronounced reck-ee).
A rally itself is a series of timed stages – from point a to point b – but these stages change on rallies each year. So before the event, drivers and co-drivers are allowed to drive at a slower speed through the stages, to make a series of instructions for the driver that the co-driver will read out in the rally proper.
These are called pacenotes. So the first item in any co-driver’s bag is not going to be so technologically advanced. It’s pen and paper!
“As a navigator, we have quite a unique set of accessories for every rally weekend,” Kihurani says.
“I always have my Pacenote.com co-driver bag along with my A4 pacenote books, blue and red Flexion pilot erasable pens with plenty of refills, earplugs, AirPods, portable charger, and my Ikea Byllan laptop cushion for writing notes in a bumpy recce car.”
Each driver and co-driver crew can use whatever system they like for their pacenotes, but they have to be read out while navigating stages sometimes not far shy of 30 miles, and at speeds comfortably over 100mph. There’s little room for error.
The more complicated you make the notes, the faster you may be able to go, but there’s a higher liklihood of the driver becoming overwhelmed with information and going slower or worse; crashing.
Most crews use a system of numbers like 1-10, with 10 being the fastest corner and 1 being the slowest/tightest corner. So one-right into 10-left for example would be a slow right corner into a fast left corner.
The trick is, these instructions need to be accurate at speed, and when all the crew has to go on is pacenotes that represent a series of calculated guesses at what speed a corner should be taken at, it’s a challenge! Have a listen in on Kihurani on the rally stage below and the challenge becomes apparent.
It also means that the co-driver rarely looks up from his book. So it can be a really sickness-inducing experience for people not used to it, travelling at over a 100mph on a loose, slippy surface, and not being able to look up, knowing which way the car may go next. The professionals reading the notes know what corner is coming from what’s on the paper and don’t need to look up, though.
Another task of the co-driver is to keep time. They have to fill in various timings in a book provided by the organisers, and between the a-to-b stages that are completed at speed, the crews only have an allowed period of time to navigate between the end of the stage and the start of the next one.
So where something like Formula 1 would race from point a to point b on a circuit, rally drivers have to navigate between the last stage and the next stage on public roads, too. And they can’t be early or late, but within an allotted window. Penalties for this can ruin a rally instantly and undo the close competition fought out on the stages.
It also means driving in a really noisy rally car between stages, which makes a noise cancelling headset really important to avoid the experience becoming loud and nauseous.
Under those conditions, keeping note of various times and calculating when things need to be done can be an extremely difficult and unpleasant experience, even if pros like Kihurani make it look easy.
“I wear two watches!” says Kihurani, and this is standard practice in the WRC.
“On my left wrist, I use a Garmin Forerunner, and on my right wrist I use the Fastime RW3 Copilote watch, which is pretty much the only game in town for co-drivers.
“For the Copilote watch, the functionality is quite simple, but it makes a world of difference as a co-driver.
“The watch allows you to set timers for various road sections and to link time controls throughout a rally. The watch will then count down for you to check-in time, which helps you avoid being early or late at a time control.
“It sounds negligible, but in rallying, being one minute early at a time control is a one minute penalty (and one minute late is a 10-second penalty), so a small timing mistake or lapse in concentration during check-in can ruin your entire weekend of rallying.
“I use my Garmin watch simultaneously as a backup watch, a backup odometer, and to double-check my timing on road sections. It also has the added plus of tracking my heart rate/vitals throughout the day.
“If Garmin is listening, a rally app for the watch would be an amazing thing to have!”
Camera technology has become another area that has revolutionised the WRC. Where cameras in recce cars have been a fixture for a long time, now that go-pros are installed in rally cars, the footage can be downloaded to a smart device and the driver and co-driver can re watch a rally stage they have just completed, mere seconds later.
This means that, if there were mistakes in the pacenotes or there are areas they could have gone faster, they can make a change ready for when that stage is run again later in the day, or for next year if part of that stage ends up being used again.
“I always pack the iPad and a few extra spare batteries for the in-car GoPro,” adds Kihurani.
That’s most of the rally-specific items out of the way, so it’s time to learn a bit more about Kihurani and what else is in his rally bag of tricks…
What can’t you live without?
“A decent cup of coffee!
“Also, ear plugs, in case you end up near a noisy road or manage to book accommodation a bit too close to the service park which is usually noisy 24 hours. The days are so long that sleep is at a premium.”
Do you bring anything superstitious?
“I tend to live by the superstition that, if you bring it, you won’t need it, so I tend to bring a lot of small spares that only get used occasionally.”
What backpack do you use?
“Just my messenger-style co-driver bag. The WRC organisers often give event backpacks to handover all the roadbooks, documentation, etc. so I keep a collection of them, particularly my cherished Rallye Monte-Carlo backpacks, which is one of if not the most prestigious event on the calendar.”
Do you pack any fitness gear?
“Just some running trainers and a massage ball. Usually we don’t have any spare time with recce and rally days being so long, and all the video work we need to do on the pacenotes in-between.”
Do you have any essentials for fitness, nutrition and recovery?
“Co-driving is an intensely mental task, so most of what I bring is to aid in my mental performance.
“I typically use MindLabPro as a daily brain supplement/nootropic in the morning, and some ashwagandha in the evenings to help with hormones, stress, and sleep. On the more absurd end, I bring a frother and Kiss My Keto MCT oil for my morning coffee.
“My sunglasses game is pretty weak, but generally I’ll use anything where the temple is thin enough to keep the headphone seal in my transit headset, else it’s a painfully noisy road section. We use a Stilo intercom and headset in the car.”
Do you pack anything that is more for Sean, something to assist your driver in their duties?
“If I was a more considerate co-driver, I’d also carry extra chapstick because Sean is always panicking about losing his.”
Rally drivers are incredibly skilled individuals who navigate challenging off-road terrain at high speeds, competing against other drivers to achieve the fastest time. The profession entails combining exceptional driving talent with a deep understanding of the vehicle and its capabilities, as well as the ability to adapt to constantly changing conditions. A successful rally driver often enjoys financial rewards from sponsorship deals, prize money, and commercial endorsements.
The rally driver meaning encompasses more than just piloting a car through muddy forests or sandy dunes. It also refers to the teamwork and strategy required between the driver and their co-driver, who helps to provide essential information about upcoming turns and hazards on the course. Together, they face numerous challenges such as navigating hairpin turns on mountainous roads or traversing waterlogged passages – all while maintaining precision control and keeping nerves of steel.
There have been many famous rally drivers throughout history who have thrilled fans with their incredible performances. The list of most famous rally drivers includes Sébastien Loeb, Colin McRae, Tommi Mäkinen, Walter Röhrl, Carlos Sainz Sr., and Ari Vatanen. These legends of the sport have contributed greatly to its development and popularity over time.
Determining who stands out as the best rally driver today can be subjective due to personal preferences and various factors such as regional biases or specific eras of competition. However, one name that consistently appears in discussions surrounding this accolade is Sébastien Ogier. The Frenchman has won multiple World Rally Championship titles (WRC) over his illustrious career so far – placing him amongst some of most decorated competitors in rally driving history.
As fans continue to appreciate the skill and dedication required to succeed at the highest level, it’s clear that rally driving offers a unique blend of excitement and challenge for both participants and spectators alike. From legendary rally driver names like Sébastien Loeb to today’s top contender Sébastien Ogier, this sport has consistently showcased a wealth of talent.
How To Become A Rally Driver In USA
As a rally driver in the United States, one can experience the adrenaline rush of navigating through challenging terrains, from treacherous mountain passes to dense forests. With an innate desire for adventure and a penchant for precision, aspiring rally drivers must consider various factors in their journey towards this exciting career.
One of the most common questions raised by those interested in pursuing a career as a rally driver is how to become one. Online platforms such as reddit are filled with helpful advice and testimonials from experienced drivers who are more than willing to share their insights. Be sure to check out the how to become a rally driver Reddit thread for more information. The general consensus highlights the importance of acquiring adequate training and licensing, which can be obtained through participation in accredited driving schools that offer specialized courses tailored for aspiring rally drivers.
In addition to acquiring proper training and licensing, potential rally drivers should also familiarize themselves with various aspects of the sport such as car setup, navigation skills, and race strategy. Building connections within the racing community is also essential in order to secure opportunities for actual race participation.
As with any specialized profession, job prospects may vary depending on factors such as skill level, experience, and networking abilities. Rally driver jobs may not be widely available compared to other automotive careers; however, for those who are committed and determined enough to make their mark on this niche market, rewards await.
Speaking of rewards, an important aspect that aspiring rally drivers should consider is the potential rally driver salary associated with such a career choice. While it is true that some well-established professional drivers are able to command significant paychecks due to their endorsements or winnings from prestigious events, it’s crucial to note that pursuing a career as a rally driver necessitates considerable financial investment up front.
Famous Rally Co Driver
A key element of this exciting sport lies in the crucial partnership between the rally driver and their co-driver. To truly appreciate the co driver meaning and this dynamic duo, it’s essential to understand the difference between a rally driver and a co-driver and explore their roles in depth.
The rally driver navigates through treacherous terrain at breakneck speeds, but they would be lost without their trusted co driver rally. The co driver definition encompasses several responsibilities that are essential for success on race day. They are responsible for reading pace notes aloud to the driver during the race, warning them of upcoming turns, jumps, and hazards while also managing time controls, strategy planning, and ensuring that all rules are followed.
What is the rally co driver calls meaning? It’s the difference between victory and disaster. Some famous rally co-drivers who have left an indelible mark on the sport include Luis Moya from Spain, who partnered with world champion Carlos Sainz, and Daniel Elena from Monaco, who has won multiple championships alongside Sebastien Loeb. Another notable rally co driver name is Phil Mills from Wales, who is known for his successful collaboration with Petter Solberg.
For those interested in experiencing this unique partnership from home or on-the-go, there is even a rally co driver game available. These games aim to recreate the intense challenge faced by real-life drivers and co-drivers as they navigate complex courses while relying on accurate communication to succeed.
While both roles within a team are vital to success in rallying competitions around the world, it’s clear that each member brings unique skills to complement one another. The synchronicity between driver and co-driver is crucial within each race; when executed well with strong communication skills such as famous examples like Moya or Elena demonstrate – it could lead any team towards victory!
Co Driver Jobs
When delving into the world of rally racing, one name that stands out in this exhilarating sport is Alex Kihurani. As a highly proficient and skilled co-driver, he has made a significant impact on the racetrack by helping his driver stay on course while maintaining high speeds. If you’re intrigued by the idea of becoming a rally co-driver like Alex, there are several aspects to consider – from jobs and responsibilities to salary.
Co-driver jobs require precision, quick thinking, and excellent communication skills. Rally co driver pacenotes must be read accurately and convey vital information to the driver in a clear and concise manner. These pacenotes provide crucial details about the upcoming turns, jumps, and other obstacles on the racecourse. Understanding how to read and relay these notes effectively takes time, practice, and experience.
Before setting foot in a rally car as a co-driver, it’s essential to become familiar with specific rules and regulations within this motorsport arena. Co driver rules often include strict adherence to safety protocols such as wearing helmets and fireproof suits during races. Additionally, co-drivers need to be aware of race procedures like start times or penalties for missed checkpoints.
Aspiring rally co-drivers might wonder how much they can earn in this thrilling career path. A rally co driver salary can vary widely depending on factors such as skill level, experience, sponsorships or endorsements contracts. While salaries may not always be comparable to those of top-tier professional athletes or drivers themselves, being part of an exciting racing team can be rewarding in many other ways.
The role of a rally co-driver extends beyond merely sitting in the passenger seat – they must also contribute to maintaining the vehicle itself. Co-drivers may find themselves taking care of tasks such as cleaning windshields or making minor adjustments between stages or during service breaks. This aspect highlights the importance of teamwork between drivers and their co-drivers when it comes to achieving success on the racetrack.
If you’re searching for a co driver synonym, consider “navigator” or “pace note reader.” These terms emphasize the importance of guiding the driver through challenging courses and maintaining an optimal pace throughout the race. Rally co-drivers are vital to their team’s success, as they provide essential information and support to ensure a smooth race experience for both themselves and their driving partners.
If you’re still wondering how to become a rally co driver and considering it as a career, know that it takes dedication, practice, and understanding of intricate details involved in this fast-paced sport. From mastering pacenotes to knowing specific rules and the co driver car, there is much to learn before taking on this high-octane profession. Ultimately, those willing to put in the time and effort may find themselves on the path towards an exciting career in rally racing.
Embarking on the thrilling journey of becoming a rally driver starts with gaining the necessary knowledge and experience in motorsports. To build a successful career in this field, obtaining a rally license is essential, and attending a reputable rally driving school should be one of your top priorities.
Rally driving schools are designed to provide aspiring drivers with the fundamental skills and techniques required to compete in various motorsports events successfully. A comprehensive curriculum typically includes theoretical lessons, practical driving sessions, and expert guidance from experienced instructors. Some well-known rally schools also offer specialized rally co-driver training programs that focus on communication skills, timekeeping, navigation, and other critical aspects of being an efficient co-driver.
Before you can participate in any official rally event or competition, securing a rally license is mandatory. This certification demonstrates that you have acquired the necessary knowledge and expertise to compete safely and professionally. To obtain your license, you will need to attend seminars organized by an accredited motorsport organization and pass both written and practical exams. Most organizations will require you to complete first aid training as well.
As you advance through your rallying career, it’s crucial to continually refine your skills by participating in various training programs offered by different rally schools. These programs may include advanced driving techniques, vehicle mechanics, race strategy development, fitness conditioning for drivers, and more. In addition to formal education at a rally school or through specialized courses, gaining real-world experience through internships or apprenticeships with professional teams can prove invaluable.
Becoming a successful rally driver requires commitment, patience, continuous learning opportunities – from acquiring your initial qualifications at a reputable rally driving school to developing expertise through rally co driver training programs – alongside practical experiences throughout your rallying journey. With dedication and hard work combined with the right education and training opportunities mentioned above; there’s no limit to what you can achieve as a professional rally driver.
Kihurani Gakuu Racing
Kihurani Gakuu was a renowned co-driver in the world of motorsports, known for his exceptional ability to navigate challenging racecourses. His passion for racing stemmed from his early years, ultimately leading him to become an esteemed figure in kihurani gakuu racing. As a co-driver, Gakuu possessed an innate understanding of how to communicate effectively with the main driver and keep them focused on the race at hand.
Unfortunately, the Kihurani Gakuu obituary confirmed that he passed away, leaving behind a rich legacy in motorsports. Having been a trailblazer in co-driving and navigation during races, his name will not be forgotten anytime soon by those who followed his exhilarating career.
One of the key individuals connected to Kihurani Gakuu is Charles Gakuu, who shares more than just a last name with the late co-driver. Both men share familial ties and were deeply connected through their love for motorsports. They were often seen working closely together during races, showcasing their dedication to excellence on the track.
The world of racing is no stranger to close-knit families and passing down knowledge through generations, as can be seen with Alex Kihurani father. While it’s not clear if Charles Gakuu held this role or if another individual was responsible for guiding Alex into the sport of racing, it’s evident that family plays an essential role in nurturing future talent.
Kihurani Gakuu was a distinguished figure in the realm of co-driving and left an indelible mark on motor racing enthusiasts worldwide. While his untimely passing brought great sadness to those who knew him well or admired his work from afar, his legacy lives on through other talented individuals such as Charles Gakuu and Alex Kihurani. With strong familial ties connected to this thrilling sport, one can only expect more exceptional talents to emerge and continue pushing the boundaries of what is possible in motorsports.