WRC: Meaning of zero cars in rallying
By Abdul Sidi
A zero car (or route opening car) is a car used in rallying to open the road for the competing cars.
The Zero Car is to warn the public not to be surprised by the first car and so that its driver can warn the organization if there is a problem on the stage.
Originally only One Zero Car (number zero) was used. These days it is not unusual for a rally to have two or three zero cars (numbered 000, 00 and 0).
The drivers are usually retired rally drivers.
The cars can be ordinary production sport cars, old rally cars (which lost homologation or are simply no longer competitive) or even new models (which the manufacturer wants to test before the homologation).
The driver and co-driver wear normal safety equipment (helmets, racing suits, etc.). The zero car is usually driven at almost rally pace.
Zero cars should not be confused with the organization car or the FIA inspection car, which also passes through the special stage before the rally cars, but are driven much slower.
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