The road sign from heaven arrived in the lanes close to home earlier this week: 'Skid risk. Max speed 20'. Men in orange trousers unwittingly created Rally Australia's Beraking stage on my doorstep. And it would have been wrong, wholly wrong, not to put it to good use.
I gave the Tar a good 15 minutes to bake before I was wheeling my high-mileage 120d down the road. And for the next hour I drove the same stretch over and over again, enormously sideways and all in the name of research. I took the opportunity to see what kind of effect road sweeping - that aspect of rallying that has so enraged Sebastien Ogier recently - really has. See... research.
Those in the know in the World Rally Championship reckon every car that passes is worth 0.1 second per kilometre. So, a driver running 10th on the road will have a second per kilometre advantage over the fella up front.
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David Evans is the rallies editor of Autosport and Motorsport News. A successful rally driving father ensured an early introduction to motorsport and, fascinated as he was by rallying, the fourth estate was of equal interest. Having read (or at least looked at the pictures) from the age of two, he joined <i>Motoring News</i> in 1996 and later moved to Autosport in 2002.@davidevansrally More features by David Evans