Rally driving is one of the biggest forms of motorsport in the world and millions of fans follow the action every week of the season.
From Mexico to Europe, South America and Australia, there are rally events all over the world and with it plenty of opportunities to bet on rally driving.
But what exactly in rally driving, and how do you best go about betting on the sport? This guide will take you through the basics of rally driving and how the motorsport attracts sports betting fans.
You will learn the general rules of rally driving, where races take place and how to bet on the biggest names in the business. Once you’ve read this guide you should be able to bet on rally driving with confidence and the knowledge of a seasoned expert.
How rally driving works
Rally driving is a form of motorsport that harnesses the wildest terrains the world has to offer in order to test drivers’ abilities to the maximum. Drivers race in cars worth over C$1million, where they are specially designed with turbo chargers, four-wheel drive and gearbox modifications to adapt best to the road surface.
Drivers in rally races will compete against each other for the best time to complete a circuit or a number of laps of a circuit. The circuits are usually on tarmac or on dirt tracks, while some races take place on snow and ice. This means races can take place in cities, frozen tundras, forests, mountain regions and even deserts.
The aim is to be the fastest car around the allotted number of laps. A rally driver will usually have a co-driver, who instructs the driver on what turns are coming up next on the course. This makes for a complex sport where the driver must be a team player as much as an individual star.
World Rally Championship explained
The biggest rally competition is the World Rally Championship, which is over 45 years old. A WRC season consists of around 14 three-day race meetings spread across the year. The season starts in January and ends in November, and covers much of the world. That means the season is able to take in various road conditions for the drivers to test themselves on.
Surfaces in WRC are categorised. For example, the opening race in Monte Carlo is a tarmac race that can sometimes feature snow and ice. The Rally de Portugal is a gravel race, while Rally Sweden is a snow race.
WRC race meetings usually last around five or six days, with Friday to Sunday the regular days allocated for actual racing. Cars will race a number of stages over the race weekend, at varying degrees of length. In the Rally Turkey, for example, drivers race 17 stages. But in Finland, it can be 23 stages.
The winner of a WRC rally is the driver who completes the required stages in the least amount of time. Their co-driver will also win. Points are added to the Drivers’ Championship, the Co-Drivers’ Championship and the Constructors’ Championship at the end of each rally, with the top 10 cars earning points.
Drivers also compete in a power stage where they can earn even more points for themselves and their team.
Rally cars are strong, bulky machines that can handle any sort of environment. Manufacturers such as Ford, Toyota and Subaru spend millions of dollars perfecting their machines so they can glide over the toughest of terrains. Yet spectators at rally events must still be careful as cars can sometimes fly off the road, dirt tracks and ice paths at any time.
How to bet on rally
Betting on rally driving may be tricky for a newcomer to the sport. But there are plenty of rally betting tips out there to help you make a decision ahead of a big race. Here are the two main markets available to punters who want to bet on rally…
The most popular bet for rally enthusiasts here at Unibet is the race win. This is simply when you bet on who you think will win the overall meeting. As we explained earlier, the rally winner is not someone who completes just one stage in the fastest time. Instead, the winner is the driver, co-driver and car that clocks the fastest time in total after adding up all their stages.
So, a driver could theoretically win a rally meet without actually coming first in any of the stages!
Most rally betting enthusiasts will know which drivers to back before the racing begins. But if you’re new to the sport then there are two very easy ways to help you bet on rally. The first is to look at the rally betting odds in the Unibet sportsbook. These will give you an insight into which drivers are likely to win, and which aren’t. Drivers with small odds are more likely to win, which is why their odds have been set so low. Indeed, the more people who back on that driver, the lower their odds will go. Similarly, drivers with high odds suggest they are unlikely to win the race.
So for example, Ott Tanak racing for Toyota may be priced at 1.80 to win a rally. If Dani Sordo in his Hyundai is 13.00 to win, then Tanak is clearly the more likely driver. Rally betting fans — like all people who bet on sport — want to strike a balance between choosing someone they think will win, and odds that are not worth the risk.
The second was to ascertain who could win a certain rally is to look at the standings and records. If a driver is high in the WRC Drivers’ Championship, then clearly they are having a strong season and may be worth backing again. Meanwhile, if a driver won on a certain course last year, then they arguably stand a better chance of winning on it this year!
This was the case with Sebastien Ogier, who won Rally Sweden in 2015 and then again in 2016 with his Volkswagen Polo R WRC.
You can also make season-long bets in rally, such as who will win the WRC title. This is mainly a market for the drivers and the odds can shift wildly throughout the season. If you want to make a pre-season bet on WRC then this is the market for you. The odds will be available for punters to place a bet on, and you will have to use your knowledge of WRC to work out who you think will be the eventual champion 10 months down the line.
Betting on the WRC championship winner can be tricky. Over the first two decades of this century the series has been dominated by two Frenchmen: Sebastien Loeb and Sebastien Ogier. Citroen, Volkswagen and Ford have all benefitted from the excellent driving of these two sporting legends.
But there are always challengers for the top prize and it’s worth doing your research into the teams and drivers before making a bet here. As we mentioned above, the betting odds will give you an indication of who is more likely to win. But you should never just go on face value of the odds.
Other forms of rally driving
WRC is the pinnacle of rally driving but the series also carries a number of other forms around the world. WRC-2 Pro is the secondary series of the World Rally Championship that lets manufacturers build cars to a slightly reduced spec to that in WRC. Meanwhile, WRC-2 is a series that caters for privately-entered cars.
There is also the FIA Junior World Rally Championship, which supports young drivers hoping to make a name for themselves in the sport. There are fewer races in the JWRC but the competition is no less fierce!
Sign up to Unibet today
Now you know more about how to bet on rally driving, you can head over to our sportsbook and see which markets we have available on this fantastic sport!
If you’re into other forms of motorsport you won’t be disappointed either. We have sports betting markets on F1, MotoGP and many other top racing sports. Our In Play betting option in F1 and MotoGP makes for a whole new betting experience, where you can bet during races and change your mind with our Cash Out options.
You can also place season-long bets on F1 and MotoGP, just as you can in WRC. This means you can follow a team or driver throughout the year and support them even if you’re not betting on a specific race. You can also read our Formula 1 Betting Guide here.