World Rally Betting
The world rally championship began in 1973, and was designed to provide the ultimate test of drivers, cars and mechanics. Over the course of a season, which currently runs from January to November and comprises 16 events, the teams will compete on asphalt, gravel, mud, snow and ice; on mountain roads, forest tracks and public highways. The winner of each event, which typically spans three days, will spend between four and five hours driving competitively, but much more than that travelling between the stages, which must also be done in the competition car. And at the end of a gruelling season, the teams have only eight weeks to recover before it all starts again.
Initially, it was never a betting sport, but in recent years a growing number of bookmakers have got involved, and the WRC is now a regular item on the sports betting menu.
TYPES OF EVENT
Although each of the 16 events that comprise the World Rally Championship is unique and takes place in a different country, they can be grouped into three main categories - fast gravel, slow gravel and asphalt. To be fast on each of the event types demands very different requirements of driver and vehicle, and for this reason course specialists often crop up who win a particular event year-in, year-out, while in another type of event they will not figure.
The majority of the season's rallies fall into the fast gravel category, and are generally run through forest areas. The gravel is often quite smooth, and there is a considerable disadvantage to running first on the road as the earlier cars on the stage tend to sweep the slippery top-surface gravel away to leave a grippier surface for the later cars. From a betting point of view, attrition is a lesser concern in these rallies, so the form is more likely to work out reliably.
Fast gravel rallies: Mexico, New Zealand, Finland, Japan, Wales, Sardinia, Australia. In 2003 the average winner's SP in fast gravel events was 2-1.
Slow gravel events are prevalent in Mediterranean countries such as Cyprus and Greece, and take place primarily on twisty mountain tracks. The surface on these kind of rallies is usually much rougher than in the forests, and loose rocks often prove hazardous, making freak results more common.
Slow gravel rallies: Cyprus, Greece, Turkey. In 2003 the average winner's SP in slow gravel events was 16-1.
Asphalt rallies take place mostly on public roads, and require a totally different driving style to gravel rallies. Whether on fast, straight roads such as in Spain, or in the mountains which await the crews in Corsica, the same drivers tend to come to the fore. While these events are not traditionally hard on drivers or machinery, the weather and choice of tyres are factors which can strongly affect the outcome of these rallies.
Asphalt rallies: Germany, Corsica, Spain. In 2003 the average winner's SP in asphalt events was 10-1.
TYPES OF BET
Unfortunately, the only bets readily available on the WRC are win and each-way, both on the title race and on the individual rallies. Some bookies are beginning to offer match bets between individual drivers, but there is rarely value to be found here and with the minefield of hazards facing the combatants, these can be something of a lottery.
A sensible approach to the individual rallies is to back one of the leading contenders, whose prices usually range up to about 6-1, and to invest each-way in a podium candidate at around 14-1 or 16-1 to cover your stake if he makes the podium. The advantage of this approach is that if your win bet makes an early exit, his demise should at least boost the each-way option's chances of reaching the top three.
Spread firms offer indices on all rallies and also drivers' points spreads at the start of the season.