Advance cars for higher safety

The ADAC Rallye Deutschland combines motor sport and safety at the highest level. Traversing each Special Stage (SS) before the competitors, the advance cars are an essential element of the safety concept of the German WRC event (22 to 25 August 2019). The official FIA safety car is one of them. At the 2019 ADAC Rallye Deutschland, two female rally pros will be in the front seats of the FIA 1 vehicle: Michèle Mouton and Jutta Kleinschmidt.

Kleinschmidt, who won the 2001 Dakar Rally and is the ADAC Rallye Deutschland brand ambassador, will be behind the wheel to support former WRC driver Mouton in her job as FIA Chief Safety Officer. The female crew will hit the road 30 minutes before the first participant. During their drive, Mouton and Kleinschmidt will check whether or not the SS setting is as intended and the locations of the spectator areas comply with the FIA requirements. They will be going at high speed.

Jutta Kleinschmidt: “At the previous ADAC Rallye Deutschland, I had the opportunity to be in the passenger seat of the FIA 1 vehicle. Getting behind the wheel is a very nice but also very challenging task. Because it is about ensuring maximum safety for spectators, assistants and rally participants. I look forward to the drive with Michèle. We have known each other for a very long time. I believe that two women doing the job in the FIA 1 car at the German rally is a first. That’s women power for a safe ADAC Rallye Deutschland!”

In addition to the FIA 1 vehicle, a series of other advance cars will start at defined intervals to check if a Special Stage is safe and to report where changes are required. If need be, they will stop right away to deal with a potential safety hazard. Plus, seeing the advance cars zoom past, the spectators will know that the SS is about to start. There will be two officials per vehicle. A dedicated radio channel ensures continuous communication between a car’s crew and the Rally Control staff, the crews of the vehicles behind and the SS chief official.

Michele Mouton

At the ADAC Rallye Deutschland, the first advance car will hit the road 90 minutes before the start of the SS. The last two advance cars will do a last-minute check of the track shortly before the SS starts. This is to finally verify whether or not all incidents previously reported by the vehicles’ crews or marshals and problems, if any, have been dealt with.

In addition to the advance cars and marshals, Kai Hantel, who is in charge of track safety at the ADAC Rallye Deutschland, relies on help from the skies before giving his go-ahead: a helicopter will be available at all Special Stages for the track safety team to be able to quickly assess the on-site situation, if need be. When the final participant is off, a sweeper car from Rally Control will drive along the SS, followed by the SS chief official waving a green flag to officially end the road closure. Only after the chief official has passed will the road reopen to the public.