Gran Turismo Rally
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Beginner Level

Level: 10

Track: Sunday Gravel 
Maximum Power: 245
Maximum Recommended Weight: 2,000 pounds (908 kg) Front-drives
                                                      2,300 pounds (1043 kg) Rear-drives

As can be seen there is a power limit, and for once it's not my limit. The idea is to get into these races with as much power as desired, as long as it's not over 245. 

These "races" are not typical for Gran Turismo, instead they are more like time trials. Whatever place one finishes at, whether it's first or second or third, is not as important as how much overall time it takes to do these.

 In other words, a driver might totally blow two of these, winding up in third place and second place, finishing a half-second behind the winner each time. But if that final try gets aced, finishing multiple seconds less than the competition, this overall time gets subtracted from the overall results, and we could possibly be declared overall winner.  
 There are three stages per outing. Three cars start in front of us, all of which dash off with several seconds to spare, so there's no fear of bumping into anybody. No more of those stupid 5 second penalties for hitting other cars (or even worse, other cars hitting US) like were found in Gran Turismo 4. Instead of competing for track-space, one must best the time of those opponents. Penalties are only given after slamming into side barriers, but these are easy to avoid, especially after memorizing the layout of each trial.   
As we drive, there's also a co-driver along for the ride, as is typical for real-life rallies. This is apparently the dude with the British accent, telling us what's coming up next.

It seems best to stay somewhere in the middle of the track as much as possible, where tire ruts can be seen. The dirt has been tamped down here, and it's possible to pick up a little speed, especially (and obviously) during straight areas, which the co-driver calls "Long".

There are presently no weight-to-power ratios for these stages, as I don't find it pertinent to add challenge in a situation which we are not allowed to practice. >:( I've found that putting my car near the power limit (within about 10 hp) is enough of a restriction as it is, especially if the car being driven is not an all-wheel drive.
Cars which are 2,000 pounds (908 kg) or less can be used for best results if they are front-drive, 2,300 pounds (1,048 kg) if they are rear-drive, and I have yet to experiment with all-wheel drives because these feel 'cheaty'.  

So likewise, if you're skooling the opponents in your STi or whatever, try driving something with a rear-drive layout. If that gets too easy, try front engine/front-drive.
Be warned. The first stage seems easy, since its turns are gentle / track is wide. But each stage does get harder, and "Fine Gravel Rally"( or whatever this course is called) is apparently not a track we can practice. It does not appear in GT5's Practice section. So the best way to get to know the limits of your car is to do some laps at Toscana. 

Now comes opinion time. >:) These races are more realistic than the rallycross events of previous Gran Turismos. They are closer to how things are done in real-life. But GT5's versions aren't nearly as daring or fun as what's in GT2 or GT4. Never is there a sense of "oh sh!t I'd better hurry up!" in the GT5 versions, like at Tahiti Maze, Grand Canyon, and other such nail-biter tracks., as some monster dirtcar crowds those mirrors
The crowd-cheering noises are annoying as hell, too.       

Three opponents are randomly chosen, typically front-drives or weaker rear-drives.There are three races which all take place in stages on one day. By the time we've reached the last stage, it's the end of the day apparently. The sun is going down.
As seen during other Gran Turismo 5 outings, not everybody is created equal. Some automobiles do better than others. I am going to try to outline from best to worst below, but keep in mind that these are just general observations. Sometimes the Volkswagen does better than the Ford, and so on. Those at the very bottom though, are guaranteed to suck.   
'06 Ford Focus ST170
'06 Ford Focus ST
'05 MINI Cooper S
'03 Dodge SRT4
'08 Megane Renault Sport
'06 Alfa Romeo 147 TI 2.0 Twin Spark
'05 Volkswagen Golf V GTI
'08 Honda Civic Type R
'04 Honda Civic Type R
'97 Honda Civic Type R
'09 Volvo C30 R-Design
'95 Honda Civic SiR-II
'99 Honda Integra Type R
'03 Peugeot 206 RC
'09 Volvo C30 R-Design
'80 Renault 5 Turbo 
'97 Toyota Celica SS-II
'03 Mazda Atenza Sports 23Z 
'03 Pontiac Vibe GT
'03 Mazda Axela 23S
'01 Volkswagen Golf IV GTI
'02 Mazda Familia Sport 2.0
'01 Toyota WiLL VS

Dirt Tires
Brake Balancer
Map: It helps to have the GPS map turned on. This can help drivers see what sort of turn is coming up; how gentle or how bent. because "Four Sharp" has little meaning for me.
Suggested Gear: Press the Start button just before the trial begins, go into the Quick Options menu, and toggle Suggested Gear on. Ignore the actual gears this gadget suggests (it sometimes gets these wrong), but when that red light starts flashing, that's when it's time to brake. How much braking becomes the only remaining judgment call. 
For those who refuse to do this, because it IS cheating, they can have fun while missing braking points over and over, or guessing these braking zones too early, then awkwardly needing to plaster a bit of gas. Informing us of when to brake should be the job of that British dude, yet he remains mum, as though he hasn't got a clue either.  He only tells us a turn is coming up. Yeah no shit, Sherlock.      

Close-ratio transmission for most cars. (5 or 6-speed...depending) with an assortment of drivetrain parts. Some cars can use stock gearing. For all three tracks of the Beginner section, cars will be going no faster than 145 mph (@ 233 km/h)

Full-custom transmission can be used for cars with awkward gearing, RPM being met in top gear, or simply need that extra something to win.  

Limited-slip device for some which lose traction or need some stability.
For front-drive, try 5-55-5.
For rear-drive, try 30-60-60 

Foxed or Height-adjustable Sport Suspension

Cars Used

'90 Honda CR-X SiR

'03 Peugeot 106 S16

'88 Nissan SXA Canopy Type S  




Track: Alaska
Horsepower: 245
Maximum Recommended Weight: 2,500 pounds (1134 kg)
It's snowing, and wow does this snow look good falling on that windshield, even in a Standard car.
Again, where are we supposed to freekin' practice? .... Well, I personally have found that the Snow Challenge is far easier than the Fine Gravel trials. I just finished a stage SEVEN seconds faster than the competition, for instance. Since PD does not allow any sort of practice area, again, I cheated by using the brake warning meter by going into the Quick Options menu, and toggling Suggested Gear on. Whenever the red light starts to flash, that's usually when it's time to brake.
These are all the same guys which have been showing up since Sunday Gravel.
Snow Tires
Height-adjustable Sport Suspension
Transmission can vary. Speed gets as high as 144 mph during the third section.

Drivetrain parts as needed, but it's easy to give some cars too much advantage during these easy Snow trials.  
Cars Used
'90 Honda CR-X SiR
'03 Peugeot 106 S16
'88 Nissan SXA Canopy Type S
'00 Chrysler PT Cruiser  

Track: Toscana (Tarmac)
Horsepower: 245
Maximum Recommended Weight: 2,300 pounds (1,089 kg)
Italian flags are flying, because Toscana is basically the Italian word for Tuscany. These three trials are on pavement. Again, the first stage is a piece of cake, but unlike the Snow Challenge, these do get more difficult. 
All the same cars show up, so no surprises. One huge difference here: all of them have traction control set pretty high. Listen to them struggle out of turns, as TCS kills their horsepower. Though they always know how to take these turns (apparently they get to practice) at least they've got some electronic nannying working against them.   
Soft Sport Tires

Brake Balancer
Height-adjustable or Full-custom suspension
Gearbox which is able to reach 150 mph.
Single-plate Clutch + Sport Flywheel. Most modern cars shouldn't be needing limited-slips, unless they've got some severe traction and/or stability problems.
Cars Used
'90 Honda CR-X SiR
'03 Peugeot 106 S16
'88 Nissan SXA Canopy Type S
'00 Chrysler PT Cruiser   

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