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Colin McRae Rally 3 - Game Guide Walkthrough, Hints and Tips for PC Games.

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 Colin McRae Rally 3 - Game Guide

 
   
 
 
Colin McRae Rally 3 - Game Guide
                   
by
Jamie Stafford/Wolf Feather
FEATHER7@IX.NETCOM.COM
                   
Initial Version Completed: May 23, 2003
Version 1.0 Completed:     May 23, 2003

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CONTENTS
Spacing and Length
Permissions
Introduction
Championship Mode
Stages Mode
Extras Mode
Navigatorspeak (English Language Audio)
Tuning
General Tips
Racing Tips: Braking
Racing Tips: Cornering
Racing Tips: Coasting
Racing Tips: Weight Shifts
Racing Tips: Wet-weather Racing/Driving
Online Resources
Contact Information

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SPACING AND LENGTH
For optimum readability, this driving guide should be
viewed/printed using a monowidth font, such as Courier.
Check for font setting by making sure the numbers and letters
below line up:

1234567890123456789012345678901234567890123456789012
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZabcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz

This guide is now approximately 95 pages in length in the
Macintosh version of Word98 using 12-point Courier font.
Therefore, printing this guide in its entirety may not
exactly be a great idea.

==============================================

PERMISSIONS
Permission is hereby granted for a user to download and/or
print out a copy of this driving guide for personal use.
However, due to the extreme length, printing this driving
guide may not be such a good idea.

This driving guide may only be posted on: FeatherGuides,
GameFAQs.com, f1gamers.com, Games Domain, PSXCodez.com,
Cheatcc.com, gamesover.com, Absolute-PlayStation.com,
RedCoupe, ComputerUnderground.com, InsidePS2Games.com,
CheatPlanet.com, The Cheat Empire, a2zweblinks.com, Gameguru,
cheatingplanet.com, GameReactors.com, RobsGaming.com,
Infogrames Australia, neoseeker.com, CheatHeaven, IGN,
ps2fantasy.com, and vgstrategies.com.  Please contact me for
permission to post elsewhere on the Internet.

Should anyone wish to translate this driving guide into other
languages, please contact me for permission(s) and provide me
with a copy when complete.

Remember:  Plagiarism in ANY form is NOT tolerated!!!!!

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INTRODUCTION
Colin McRae Rally 3 is the first appearance of the Colin
McRae Rally series on PlayStation2.  Not surprisingly, its
graphics are excellent, the cars have more tuning options,
the sounds are better and more convincing, and the
frustration factor has been raised :-)   Whereas most rally
racing games tend to lean toward the arcade side of the
racing genre (V-Rally 3 and especially Shox being two recent
examples of this), Colin McRae Rally 3 is closer to the
simulation side of the racing genre.  With this in mind,
Colin McRae Rally 3 is definitely NOT a game for just casual
players of racing games.

The main focus of CMR3 is Championship Mode, a three-season
career mode where the player takes the role of Colin McRae
himself.  Nicky Grist provides the voice of the navigator (in
the English-language audio only), adding another layer of
realism to the game.  There are many parts and vehicles which
can be unlocked in the game; some only require finishing a
rally, whereas others are unlocked by winning a rally.

The Gran Turismo series, perhaps the most successful racing
series on PlayStation and PlayStation2, introduced rally
racing in Gran Turismo 2, and then brought it back with many
visual changes and a few new venues in Gran Turismo 3.  This
is likely the first experience with rally racing for many
PlayStation and PlayStation2 gamers.  While Gran Turismo 2
includes two point-to-point stages (which were unfortunately
eliminated from Gran Turismo 3), the Gran Turismo series
primarily feature circuits, which are fairly rare in actual
rally racing.  To this extent, the Colin McRae Rally series
is much more realistic than the Gran Turismo series, although
the Gran Turismo series certainly excels in its vast
multiplicity of tuning options.

Please note that this guide does not provide detailed
instructions for each stage or super-special stage in the
game.  After all, that is the job of the navigator!!!

Also note that some of the information in this guide come
from some of my other guides, with appropriate modifications:

   General Racing/Driving Guide
   V-Rally 3: Game Guide
   World Rally Championship: Game Guide

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CHAMPIONSHIP MODE
Championship Mode is the career mode of Colin McRae Rally 3.
Here, the player takes the role of Colin McRae, participating
in six rallies per year across three seasons of competition.
For each rally, there is a specific progression which is
followed.  

Day I: Shakedown Day
   Here, the player is given the opportunity to test the
   vehicle's set-up on a short stage which is (at least in
   theory) similar to what will be encountered in the actual
   rally on Days II and III.  The player can also use
   Shakedown Day to gain information on the first three
   stages of the rally (all occurring on Day II), and change
   the car's set-up as needed.

Day II: Start of Rally
   This is the time for each competitor in the rally to be
   presented to the gathered spectators.  During this time,
   the running order for the rally is shown at the bottom of
   the screen; this is based upon the results of the previous
   rally (or the previous season, if this is the first rally
   of a given season).  Start of Rally must be loaded and
   begin to play before the player can elect to end it
   prematurely and get started with the rally itself.

Day II: Stages 1-3
   At the beginning of each stage, the player is first shown
   the preceding vehicle - generally a competitor, but this
   will be the Marshals' vehicle if the player is the first
   competitor to take the stage - leaving to start the stage.
   Except for the first stage of the rally (when the vehicle
   is in perfect racing condition), the player is given a
   status update of the parts of the vehicle: tires,
   suspension, brakes, etc.

   Also important here, beginning with the second stage of
   a rally, is that the overall ranking for the rally is
   shown.  The player's position in the rally is highlighted
   in yellow.  

   Finally, the stage itself begins.  There is a four-second
   countdown timer shown; when the timer reaches zero, the
   player can begin the stage, and the navigator (Nicky
   Grist, in the English audio version of the game) will
   begin to give driving instructions.

   At the end of each stage, the player is shown how her or
   his stage time compares with those who ran the stage
   previously.  There is NO way to know at this point how
   the player's time compares with that of the other
   competitors in the rally.

Day II: Service Area I
   At the end of the third stage, the player finally has the
   opportunity to fix damage and to prepare for the next
   three stages.  The vehicle damage is automatically fixed
   by the CPU; since each team only has thirty minutes to
   repair a vehicle and tune it for the next three stages of
   the rally, not all damage incurred in the first three
   stages of the rally will necessarily be repaired, which
   makes safe, cautious driving quite important throughout
   the rally.  

   At the Service Area, the player can also view information
   on the next three stages, and make the appropriate tuning
   choices.  It is important to realize, however, that there
   is no Shakedown possibility here, so the player is
   essentially 'blind' in terms of knowing how the selected
   tuning options will work on the upcoming three stages.

Day III: Stages 4-6
   These stages operate in the same manner as the first
   three stages of the rally.

Day III: Service Area II
   At the end of the sixth stage of the rally, the player is
   given one final opportunity to repair any vehicle damage
   (again, this is handled by the CPU).  The player can also
   then view information on the upcoming Super-special Stage,
   and then alter the vehicle's set-up accordingly.

Day III: Super-special Stage
   Each rally ends with a Super-special Stage, which is a
   head-to-head competition with a randomly-selected
   opponent still participating in the rally (as a rally
   progresses, some opponents will fail to finish a stage
   and are automatically given a DNF designation).  A
   Super-special Stage is a so-called 'parallel circuit,'
   in which there are two lanes running essentially
   side-by-side with similar obstacles, and crossing at
   a given point on the circuit.  The player will ALWAYS
   begin in Lane 1 (the left-most lane), and a full 'lap'
   leaves from the Start/Finish Line of Lane 1, through
   Lane 2, and returns to the Start/Finish Line of Lane 1.
   
   The navigator is still available and reads the pace notes
   as usual.  The true trick for the Super-special Stages,
   however, is that they take place at nighttime.  Therefore,
   visibility is extremely poor.  Visibility may also be
   worsened by inclement weather.

Day III: Podium
   Should the player be fortunate enough to finish a rally
   in the top three positions, the player will be required to
   go to the Podium Ceremony.  Finishing in Second Place or
   Third Place, the player is shown Colin McRae and Nicky
   Grist driving onto a platform.  Finishing in First Place,
   however, McRae and Grist are shown driving onto the
   platform, them hoisting their trophies and waving to the
   gathered spectators.

Day III: Unlockables
   Should the player simply finish a rally, new tuning parts
   will generally become available.  If the player WINS a
   rally, however, a new vehicle will generally be unlocked;
   this vehicle, however, cannot be used in Championship
   Mode.  

Fortunately, Colin McRae Rally 3 permits a maximum of three
game saves for Championship Mode.  The vehicles unlocked in
Championship Mode are cumulative across ALL the game saves.

Also, at the end of each event or stage in a rally, the
player's progress is automatically saved.  This happens VERY
quickly, so if a player is not at all happy with performance
on a given stage, the console must be VERY QUICKLY reset and
the game reloaded to avoid having that stage's time counted
in the rally; by quickly resetting the console, however, the
player will be forced to rerun that stage.

Finishing the third and final season of a career presents the
player with a career ranking (in letter grades), followed by
a slide show of rally images.

==============================================

STAGES MODE
Here, the player can compete on a single stage.  However, the
rallies and stages available depend on what has already been
unlocked in Championship Mode, so the player must first work
through Championship Mode.

In Stages Mode, the number of players is selected, then the
desired vehicle.  Unfortunately, however, there is no vehicle
tuning permitted beyond the use of either Manual Transmission
or Automatic Transmission (unfortunately, Semi-automatic
Transmission can only be selected in Championship Mode).

Next the transmission selection is made.  Then the player can
choose a rally and a stage from that rally.  The competition
against the clock then begins; if the player has selected a
super-special stage with the single-player option, there is
no CPU-controlled opponent, so the player still races solely
against the clock. 

The player's time is shown at the end of the stage, along
with the differential to the best time for that stage
(excluding times from Championship Mode), if applicable.  The
player is also given the option to rerun the stage, or to
move on to the next stage (if applicable).

==============================================

EXTRAS MODE
Extras Mode primarily consists of video clips.  As rallies
are completed in Championship Mode, their opening video clips
become available in Extras Mode.  However, there are a number
of initially-available video clips under the heading 'CMR3:'

   001: Driving Conditions
   002: Crew Report
   003: Vehicle Showcase
   004: Track Shakedown
   
The 'CMR3' video clips all run consecutively.  Unfortunately,
there is no way to select any individual video clip.

==============================================
==============================================
==============================================

NAVIGATORSPEAK (ENGLISH LANGUAGE AUDIO)
Colin McRae Rally 3 (in the North American version) offers
audio in English (the default setting, featuring Nicky
Grist), French, and Spanish.  This section covers the
navigator's driving instructions in English.

The navigator will give instructions to inform you of the
many twists and bumps in the road ahead.  Many times, these
instructions are spot-on, although at times they are given
just as you reach the specific corner or caution mentioned.
Sometimes, however, the instructions are not quite exact, so
take care to not follow the instructions to the letter
without questioning.  For this reason, it is also important
for the player to keep looking as far ahead as possible, so
as to not be mislead by any incorrect instructions and to
also (hopefully) spot any potential shortcuts or unannounced
areas of potential danger.  If the sign panels at the top-
center of the screen are activated, these will almost exactly
mimic visually what the navigator is saying.

Distance: The navigator will sometimes indicate distance.
   This is measured in meters (remember that one meter is
   slightly longer than thirty-nine inches).  Most distances
   are '50' or less, but sometimes '100' or more will be
   heard.  

Direction: The navigator will indicate whether the upcoming
   turn is to the left or the right.

'1' Corners: First gear is suggested for the corner.  This
   call is extremely rare in Colin McRae Rally 3.

'2' Corners: Second gear is suggested for the corner.

'3' Corners: Third gear is suggested for the corner.

'4' Corners: Fourth gear is suggested for the corner.

'5' Corners: Fifth gear is suggested for the corner.

'6' Corners: Sixth gear is suggested for the corner.
   However, if it is not possible to attain sixth gear, this
   means to go as fast as possible in as high a gear as
   possible.  

'And:' This functions as a conjunction, indicating that the
   second instruction immediately follows the first
   instruction.  It is also possible to be given a 'sentence'
   with 'and' used repeatedly to join multiple instructions.
   Note that 'and' can be interchanged with 'into' without
   any change in meaning; however, 'and' is used more often
   because it is shorter to pronounce.

'Care:' This catch-all call indicates a dangerous section
   ahead.  This could include steep embankments, deep
   ditches, a narrowing of the road, a minor jump or crest,
   or other potential problems.  The actual obstacle may also
   be indicated here.

'Caution:' This catch-all call is stronger than the 'Care'
   call.  Some slowing may be in order here.

'Crest:' This call indicates a rise in the road ahead which
   will obscure the view if using one of the in-car cameras.
   The vehicle should not actually go airborne when topping
   the crest.  

'Cut:' This means that a corner SHOULD be able to be shortcut
   at least slightly without causing any damage to the
   vehicle.  

'Don't Cut:' Perhaps the most important utterance from the
   navigator, this call indicates that shortcutting the apex
   of the upcoming corner will produce extreme danger.  This
   can range from large rocks or boulders at the apex to an
   unprotected cliff drop-off to a deep ditch.  This call
   takes on added importance when on a steep uphill or\
   downhill grade during a turn, especially in hairpin
   corners.  

'Hairpin' Corners: Interestingly, many so-called 'hairpins'
   are actually U-shaped, double-apex corners.

'Into:' See 'And,' above.

'Jump:' This call indicates a rise that will send the car
   airborne if taken at full speed.

'Keep' + Direction: Stay to the indicated side of the roadway
   in order to avoid one or more obstacles or dangers.

'Long:' The upcoming corner is long.  While this is not
   always the case, a corner designated as 'long' will often
   include an implied 'tightens.'

'Narrows:' The road ahead will narrow.

'Opens:' The upcoming corner has an increasing radius.  Use
   caution in accelerating, as accelerating too soon could
   result in hitting obstacles or flying off cliffs.

'Outside:' Instead of cornering normally (outside to
   apex/inside to outside), keep a wide berth around the
   corner in order to avoid one or more obstacles or dangers.
   The type of obstacle is also often noted.

'Straight:' Listed in the game manual but not actually used
   in the game, this call indicates to go straight through
   the upcoming (slight) turns.

'Tightens:' The upcoming corner has a decreasing radius.
   Slowing will almost certainly be required before exiting
   the corner.  While this is not always the case, a corner
   designated as 'long' or 'very long' will often include an
   implied 'tightens.'

'Tunnel:' There is a tunnel ahead.  This is an important
   warning, meaning that the driver must be sure to remain on
   the official roadway to avoid slamming into the side(s) of
   the tunnel.  

'Very Long:' The upcoming corner is extensive and will seem
   to go on forever.  While this is not always the case, a
   corner designated as 'very long' will often include an
   implied 'tightens.'

A very important note concerning the navigation calls is the
numbers used.  Distance calls are in increments of either 10m
or 100m; any other number used in the navigation calls are
suggested gears for corners.  This is important to remember,
as many of Nicky Grist's calls can sometimes sound rather
smashed together, like a run-on sentence.  For example, '3
left, 50, 5 left' may instead sound like '3 left 55 left;' '6
left, 100, 5 right, 30, 3 right' may instead sound like '6
left 105 right 33 right.'  Knowing and internalizing the
distance/gear convention is extremely important to properly
interpreting the navigation calls, especially since the
indicator panels at the top-center of the screen (if
activated) do not provide a suggested gear (they only
indicate the type of corner, although the color of a panel is
generally indicative of a corner's severity).

==============================================

TUNING
Tuning takes on a VERY important role in Colin McRae Rally 3.
Not only must a player take into consideration the terrain
and weather conditions for a single stage, this must
generally be done across nearly half of a rally at once,
meaning that compromises are often required on one stage to
have the best chance of placing first on another stage.

The tuning in CMR3 generally falls into seven categories,
with subsets of tuning options available:

Brakes
   Brake Power:          Brake Power controls the amount of
                         brake pressure used whenever the
                         brakes are applied.  The options
                         here are Light, Medium, and Strong.
   Brake Balance:        This controls where the maximum
                         amount of braking occurs, ranging
                         from Front to Middle to Rear.

Gearbox
   Gear Ratio:           Adjusting the Gear Ratio has a
                         tremendous effect upon both
                         acceleration and top-end speed (in a
                         straight line).  A Low setting
                         provides the absolute fastest and
                         strongest, but at the sacrifice of
                         top-end speed.  A High setting gives
                         the best top-end speed, but at the
                         sacrifice of acceleration.  Medium
                         is the 'middle ground' setting.  It
                         is important to note that Nicky
                         Grist's gear suggestions are
                         generally based upon the Medium
                         setting; using a Low or High setting
                         will therefore require some mental
                         adjustments on the part of the
                         player.
   Transmission:         Here, the player can choose from
                         Manual, Semi-automatic, and
                         Automatic.  With Manual, the player
                         must handle all gear shifts, which
                         can greatly help to obtain the
                         maximum performance from a vehicle
                         when used properly.  With the
                         Automatic setting, the CPU controls
                         all gear shifts.  With Semi
                         automatic, the CPU performs gear
                         shifts, but the player can also
                         force a gear shift at any time.
  
Tires 
   Tire Type:            There are numerous types of tires
                         used in the course of a rally.  The
                         options include:
                            Tarmac
                               Intermediate (barely wet
                                            conditions)
                               Hard (excellent life, low
                                    grip)
                               Soft (poor life, excellent
                                    grip)
                               Wet
                            Gravel
                            Dirt
                            Hard Gravel
                            Stud (for snow/ice)
                               Short Stud
                               Medium Stud
                               Long Stud

Engine
   Power Balance:        This controls how much power is
                         given to the front and/or rear
                         axles of a vehicle; this can thus
                         also change the 'type' of vehicle.
                            Front:  The vehicle handles like
                                    an FF vehicle, which
                                    usually results in
                                    understeer.
                            Middle: The vehicle performs like
                                    a standard 4WD vehicle.
                            Rear:   The vehicle handles like
                                    an FR vehicle, usually
                                    with great tendency to
                                    oversteer.
   Turbo:                The player can choose the amount of
                         turbo boost for the engine.  The
                         settings here range from Standard to
                         Super to Super Mad.
   Launch Control:       The Launch Control system, if
                         enabled, can reduce wheelspin at the
                         start of a rally.  Perhaps the best-
                         known example of this in motorsport
                         currently is the traditional
                         standing start in F1 competition.

Chassis 
   Chassis Type:         The options here are Standard,
                         Light, and Super Light.  The lighter
                         the chassis, the less weight is
                         involved (theoretically resulting in
                         faster speed and cornering), but the
                         vehicle then becomes more and more
                         prone to damage, which can adversely
                         affect handling.

Suspension
   Springs:              The springs help to control the
                         amount of vertical movement of the
                         vehicle when riding over rough
                         terrain or over obstacles.  A Soft
                         setting permits maximum vertical
                         movement.  A Hard setting allows
                         only minimal vertical movement, but
                         the vehicle is then much more prone
                         to 'jumping.'  A Medium setting is
                         the 'middle ground.'
   Anti-roll:            Anti-roll can reduce the chances of
                         the vehicle rolling over when
                         cornering at high speed.  The
                         options here are None (off),
                         Medium, and Strong.  Note that
                         higher Anti-roll settings make
                         cornering generally more difficult.

Steering
   Steering Sensitivity: This controls how quickly the
                         controller responds to the player's
                         steering input.  Options here are
                         Fast, Standard, and Slow.

==============================================

GENERAL TIPS
Buy or rent or borrow any game in the Gran Turismo series,
but especially Gran Turismo 2 or 3.  In one of these games,
work through the License Tests, as this will teach how to
approach the various elements of racing, from judging braking
distances to controlling a car on a surface with little grip.
Gran Turismo 2 introduced rally racing to the series, so GT2
and GT3 both include a Rally License; the time and effort
spent in acquiring the Rally License in GT2 or GT3 will help
with Colin McRae Rally 3.  Overall, Gran Turismo 2 is
probably a better choice of the three games in the Gran
Turismo series, as GT2 includes the Pikes Peak Hill Climb and
Pikes Peak Downhill courses, the only point-to-point rally
venues in the series thus far (all other rally events are
held at actual circuits); unfortunately, both Pikes Peak
stages were removed for Gran Turismo 3 :-(

In rally racing, the principles of standard pavement-based
racing apply.  However, there is generally less tire grip in
rally racing (unless a rally takes place primarily on tarmac,
such as in Spain), which makes anticipation a key element in
correctly holding a tight racing line at the apex of a
corner, in judging braking distances on a steep downhill
grade, etc.  

In general, '5' and '6' corners do not require braking to
safely clear; '2' corners and hairpins DO require braking;
'3' and '4' corners may necessitate braking depending on the
surroundings and the entry speed.  However, if on a steep
uphill or downhill grade, even '5' corners may require
braking, while possibly '2' corners will not necessitate
braking.  Hairpins ALWAYS require braking.

Do not depend solely upon the navigator's instructions and
the sign icons at the top-center of the screen (if activated)
to drive cleanly through each stage.  Try to look as far
ahead as possible and use the lay of the land to determine
what the road ahead will entail.  Most roads follow the
contours of mountains, using a series of switchbacks for
climbing and descending steep mountainsides; those with even
moderate backpacking experience will be easily able to
recognize these contour patterns and thus be better able to
anticipate upcoming corners.  On occasion, visibility is
clear so far ahead that it is possible to see turns one
hundred meters - or more - beyond what the navigator is
currently saying.  Some roads leave one particular mountain
and run along an adjacent mountain, and this can sometimes
also be seen across a valley.  For those roads atop short
ridges or in vast plains, it is often possible to see the
various turns far ahead.  Try to use really tall objects such
as trees - and especially telephone poles, as they are almost
ALWAYS located directly next to the road - to determine the
location and severity of upcoming turns.

While not always the case, hairpin corners in Colin McRae
Rally 3 often come in groups of two or more (with each corner
leading in an opposite direction).  This is good to remember
for anticipating upcoming corners.

Proper tire selection is EXTREMELY important, as selecting
the wrong tire compound for a stage can slow the car by up to
several seconds PER SECTOR.  However, since most of the
stages in Championship Mode (the game's career mode) are run
consecutively without any Service Areas and opportunities to
change vehicle settings, this will sometimes mean a MAJOR
compromise on one stage in order to attain the best possible
time on another stage.

To the extent possible, ALWAYS brake in a straight line.  If
braking only occurs when cornering, the car will likely be
carrying too much speed for the corner, resulting in the car
sliding, spinning, and/or flipping.  (While a car may not
necessarily flip in this situation, a slide or spin can still
mean the difference between winning and ending up in last
position at the end of a stage.)

A very important note concerning the navigation calls is the
numbers used.  Distance calls are in increments of either 10m
or 100m; any other number used in the navigation calls are
suggested gears for corners.  This is important to remember,
as many of Nicky Grist's calls can sometimes sound rather
smashed together, like a run-on sentence.  For example, '3
left, 50, 5 left' may instead sound like '3 left 55 left;' '6
left, 100, 5 right, 30, 3 right' may instead sound like '6
left 105 right 33 right.'  Knowing and internalizing the
distance/gear convention is extremely important to properly
interpreting the navigation calls, especially since the
indicator panels at the top-center of the screen (if
activated) do not provide a suggested gear (they only
indicate the type of corner, although the color of a panel is
generally indicative of a corner's severity).

Performing well in Championship Mode, especially above Normal
difficulty, can be extremely difficult.  Once Championship
Mode has been cleared at least once, the player may benefit
greatly from running each rally and each stage multiple times
in Stages Mode.  This means that the player will not be able
to tune the selected vehicle - also, Semi-automatic
Transmission cannot be selected - but this will allow the
player to become more familiarized with that rally's stages.
When ready, the player can then go to Championship Mode to
participate in that rally; hopefully, the stages will thus
not appear so 'foreign' and the player will have a better
notion of what to expect and how to generally approach each
stage and its various sections and difficulties.  (Of course,
this is VERY unorthodox for those desiring a truer rally-
racing experience, in which the driver has little or no prior
familiarity with the stages of a rally.)

==============================================
==============================================
==============================================

RACING TIPS: BRAKING
The first step in driving fast is knowing when, where, and
how much to slow down (braking).  In some games, a brake
controller can be acquired or purchased, allowing the player
to customize the brake strength by axle or by adjusting the
bias of the brakes toward the front or the rear of the car;
in other games, this is part of the 'stock' feature of the
cars.  

The use of a brake controller will affect the braking zone,
as will other factors.  Specifically, the car's speed on
approaching a corner, the amount of fuel in the car at a
given moment, the drivetrain of the car, the weight of the
car, and even the car's center of gravity can all affect the
braking zone.  Similarly, the driving conditions - sunny,
overcast, damp, wet, icy, snowy etc. - will affect the
braking zone for each corner (as well as the car's ability to
attain high speeds).

Except for purely arcade-style games, the braking zone will
differ somewhat for each car depending upon its strengths and
weaknesses.  It certainly helps for the player to try a Free
Run or a Time Trial (if these modes exist in a given game) to
learn the circuit(s) - including the braking zones.

When looking for braking zones, try to find a particular
stationary object near the entry of each corner; it helps
tremendously if this object is far enough away from the
circuit that it will not be knocked over during a race.  To
begin, try using the brakes when the front of the car is
parallel with the chosen stationary object.  If this does not
slow the car enough before corner entry or if the car slows
too much before reaching the corner, pick another stationary
object on the following lap and try again.

Whenever changes are made to the car - whether to the brake
controller or to other aspects of tuning and/or parts - it
would be a good idea to go back into Free Run mode and check
that the braking zones still hold; if not, adjust as
necessary using the method in the paragraph above.

For those races which include fuel loads, the car will become
progressively lighter during a race.  The lesser weight can
often mean a slightly shorter braking zone; however, if tire
wear is excessive (especially if there have been numerous
off-course excursions), that might dictate a longer braking
zone.  

Cars with a higher horsepower output will inherently attain
faster speeds, and will therefore require a longer braking
zone than cars with a lower horsepower output.  Try a
Volkswagon New Beetle, a Mini Cooper, a Dodge Viper, a Panoz
Esperante GT-1, a Corvette C5R, and an F-2002 (all in
stock/base configuration) along the same area of a circuit
and note how their braking zones differ.

A final note on braking: To the extent possible, ALWAYS brake
in a straight line.  If braking only occurs when cornering,
the car will likely be carrying too much speed for the
corner, resulting in the car sliding, spinning, and/or
flipping.  (Some games purposely do not permit the car to
flip, but a slide or spin can still mean the difference
between winning and ending up in last position at the end of
a race.)  

If nothing else, players should strive to become of the
'breakers' they possibly can.  This will essentially force a
player to become a better racer/driver in general once the
player has overcome the urge to constantly run at top speed
at all times with no regard for damages to self or others.
Also, slowing the car appropriately will make other aspects
of racing/driving easier, especially in J-turns, hairpin
corners, and chicanes.

==============================================

RACING TIPS: CORNERING
Ideally, the best way to approach a corner is from the
outside of the turn, braking well before entering the corner.
At the apex (the midpoint of the corner), the car should be
right up against the edge of the roadway.  On corner exit,
the car drifts back to the outside of the roadway and speeds
off down the straightaway.  So, for a right-hand turn of
about ninety degrees, enter the corner from the left, come to
the right to hit the apex, and drift back to the left on
corner exit.  See the Diagrams section at the end of this
guide for a sample standard corner.

For corners that are less than ninety degrees, it may be
possible to just barely tap the brakes - if at all - and be
able to clear such corners successfully.  However, the same
principles of cornering apply: approach from the outside of
the turn, hit the apex, and drift back outside on corner
exit.  

For corners more than ninety degrees but well less than 180
degrees, braking will certainly be required.  However, for
these 'J-turns,' the apex of the corner is not the midpoint,
but a point approximately two-thirds of the way around the
corner.  J-turns require great familiarity to know when to
begin diving toward the inside of the corner and when to
power to the outside on corner exit.  See the Diagrams
section at the end of this guide for a sample J-turn.

Hairpin corners are turns of approximately 180 degrees.
Braking is certainly required before corner entry, and the
cornering process is the same as for standard corners:
Approach from the outside, drift inside to hit the apex
(located at halfway around the corner, or after turning
ninety degrees), and drifting back to the outside on corner
exit.  See the Diagrams section at the end of this guide for
a sample hairpin corner.

If there are two corners of approximately ninety degrees each
AND both corners turn in the same direction AND there is only
a VERY brief straightaway between the two corners, they may
be able to be treated like an extended hairpin corner.
Sometimes, however, these 'U-turns' have a straightaway
between the corners that is just long enough to prohibit a
hairpin-like treatment; in this case, drifting to the outside
on exiting the first of the two corners will automatically
set up the approach to the next turn.  See the Diagrams
section at the end of this guide for a sample U-turn.

FIA (the governing body of F1 racing, World Rally
Championship, and other forms of international motorsport)
seems to love chicanes.  One common type of chicane is
essentially a 'quick-flick,' where the circuit quickly edges
off in one direction then realigns itself in a path parallel
to the original stretch of pavement, as in the examples in
the Diagrams section at the end of this guide.  Here, the
object is to approach the first corner from the outside, hit
BOTH apexes, and drift to the outside of the second turn.
There are chicanes of various types in rally racing, but they
are not necessarily considered as such because the
competitors tend to think corner-by-corner, and not complex-
by-complex like circuit-based competitors.

FIA also seems to like the 'Bus Stop' chicane, which is
essentially just a pair of quick-flicks, with the second
forming the mirror image of the first, as shown in the
Diagrams section at the end of this guide.  Perhaps the most
famous Bus Stop chicane is the chicane (which is actually
called the ŒBus Stop Chicane¹) at Pit Entry at Spa-
Francorchamps, the home of the annual Grand Prix of Belgium
(F1 racing) and the host of The 24 Hours of Spa (for
endurance racing). 

Virtually every other type of corner or corner combination
encountered in racing (primarily in road racing) combines
elements of the corners presented above.  These complex
corners and chicanes can be challenging, such as the Ascari
chicane at Monza.  See the Diagrams section for an idea of
the formation of Ascari.

However, in illegal street/highway racing, the positioning of
traffic can 'create' the various corners and corner
combinations mentioned here.  For example, weaving in and out
of traffic creates a virtual bus stop chicane (see the
Diagrams section at the end of this guide).  Slowing may be
necessary - it often is - depending on the distance between
the vehicles.  See the Sample Circuit Using Some of the Above
Corner Types Combines in the Diagrams section at the end of
this guide; note that this is a diagram for a very technical
circuit.  

At some race venues, 'artificial chicanes' may be created by
placing cones and/or (concrete) barriers in the middle of a
straightaway.  One such game which used this type of chicane
is the original Formula1 by Psygnosis, an F1-based
PlayStation game from 1995, which used this at Circuit
Gilles-Villeneuve along Casino Straight (shortly after
passing the final grandstands at the exit of Casino Hairpin).
There are a few 'artificial chicanes' in Colin McRae Rally 3.

One thing which can change the approach to cornering is the
available vision.  Blind and semi-blind corners require
ABSOLUTE knowledge of such corners.  Here is where gamers
have an advantage over real-world drivers:  Gamers can
(usually) change their viewpoint (camera position), which can
sometimes provide a wider, clearer view of the stage, which
can be especially important when approaching semi-blind
corners; real-world drivers are obviously inhibited by the
designs of their cars and racing helmets.  Great examples of
real-world blind and semi-blind corners would be Mulsanne
Hump at Le Mans, Turns 14 and 15 at Albert Park, each of the
first three corners at A1-Ring, and many forest-based stages
in rally racing.  

Also important to cornering - especially with long, extended
corners - is the corner¹s radius.  Most corners use an
identical radius throughout their length.  However, some are
increasing-radius corners or decreasing-radius corners.
These corners may require shifting the apex point of a
corner, and almost always result in a change of speed.
Decreasing-radius corners are perhaps the trickiest, because
the angle of the corner becomes sharper, thus generally
requiring more braking as well as more turning of the
steering wheel.  Increasing-radius corners are corners for
which the angle becomes more and more gentle as the corner
progresses; this means that drivers will generally accelerate
more, harder, or faster, but such an extra burst of speed can
backfire and require more braking.  See the Diagrams section
at the end of this guide for sample images of a decreasing-
radius corner and an increasing-radius corner.

For traditional road racing circuits, increasing-radius and
decreasing-radius corners may not be too much of a problem;
after several laps around one of these circuits, a driver
will know where the braking and acceleration points are as
well as the shifted apex point (should a shift be required).
However, for stage-based rally racing, where the roads are
virtually unknown and the driver knows what is ahead only
because of the navigator¹s instructions (which - based upon
notes - may or may not be absolutely correct), the unknown
can cause drivers to brake more often and/or more heavily.
For rally-based games, such as the Need for Speed: V-Rally
series (PlayStation/PSOne/PlayStation2) or for World Rally
Championship (PlayStation2), there is often specialized
vocabulary used: Œtightens¹ generally designates that a
corner has a decreasing radius, whereas Œwidens¹ or Œopens¹
indicates that a corner has an increasing radius.  This need
for Œextra¹ braking is also tempered by the fact that in much
of rally racing, corners are either blind or semi-blind, due
to trees, buildings, cliffs, embankments, and other obstacles
to clear vision all the way around a corner.

One particularly interesting aspect of cornering is one which
I honestly do not know if it works in reality (I am not a
real-world racer, although I would certainly LOVE the chance
to attend a racing school!!!), but which works in numerous
racing/driving games I have played over the years.  This
aspect is to use the accelerator to help with quickly and
safely navigating sharp corners.  This works by first BRAKING
AS USUAL IN ADVANCE OF THE CORNER, then - once in the corner
itself - rapidly pumping the brakes for the duration of the
corner (or at least until well past the apex of the corner).
The action of rapidly pumping the accelerator appears to
cause the drive wheels to catch the pavement just enough to
help stop or slow a sliding car, causing the non-drive wheels
to continue slipping and the entire car to turn just a little
faster.  Using this rapid-pumping technique with the
accelerator does take a little practice initially, and seems
to work best with FR cars; however, once perfected, this
technique can pay dividends, especially with REALLY sharp
hairpin corners, such as at Sebring International Raceway or
those often found in rally racing.

==============================================

RACING TIPS: COASTING
Some players may believe that a good racer is ALWAYS either
accelerating or braking.  However, this is not always the
best way to approach a given section of a circuit or rally
stage.  Coasting can sometimes be beneficial.

First, consider standard street or highway driving.  Street-
legal cars are designed for the same foot to be used for both
acceleration and braking (with the other foot used for
operating the clutch if the vehicle uses a manual
transmission).  There is always a slight delay between
acceleration and braking as the driver moves the foot from
one pedal to the other; during this time, the vehicle is
essentially coasting - that is, the vehicle's current
momentum is the only thing moving the vehicle.

In real-world racing, there are a number of drivers who use
'left-foot braking.'  In other words, one foot is used for
the accelerator, while the other foot is used for the brake
pedal.  Yet even in left-foot braking, a driver must take
care to NOT be pressing both the accelerator pedal AND the
brake pedal simultaneously, as this could cause the engine
revs to spike and/or cause undue tire wear.  Therefore, even
though for a much shorter duration (perhaps best measured in
hundredths of a second) than in standard 'right-foot
braking,' there is always a short period of coasting.

In many racing games, I find that coasting through tight
corners (including tight chicanes) can sometimes be the best
method to safely navigate these difficult sections - and this
is true in both pavement-based games and in rally-based
games.  Certainly, braking properly (i.e., in a straight line
BEFORE reaching the corner or chicane) is key to successfully
coasting.  However, using NEITHER the accelerator button NOR
the brake button will cause the vehicle to coast, thus using
the natural momentum of the vehicle to perhaps swing the
vehicle around the corner or through the chicane.

This is actually somewhat tricky to explain in words, and is
really something that each player should try several times
(especially on tight, technical circuits, such as Monaco and
Bathurst, or virtually any stage of a rally-based game) to
truly understand this technique.  Once learned, however,
players may easily find themselves adding this technique to
their gaming repertoire :-)

==============================================

RACING TIPS: WEIGHT SHIFTS
Modern racing games are especially adept at simulating a
vehicle's weight shift in a variety of situations.  This
section assumes that a vehicle is moving in a forward
direction.  

When cornering, a vehicle's weight shift is to the opposite
direction; in other words, if a vehicle is turning to the
left, its weight will be shifted to the right (and vice
versa).  If the player attempts to corner too quickly, the
resultant weight shift risks to slide the vehicle toward the
outside of the turn; in extreme cases, the vehicle could lift
and have only TWO wheels actually touching the ground, or
potentially the vehicle could even flip onto its side or its
roof!!!  While it is certainly fun to see a vehicle on two
wheels or on its side or roof, this is obviously counter-
productive, especially in a close race or in a time trial
mode.  Tires and downforce play a role in helping to keep the
vehicle on the ground during cornering, but once a given
speed is surpassed for the type, radius, and angle of the
corner in question, the player will have limited - if any -
control of the vehicle.

During acceleration, the vehicle's weight will naturally
shift toward the rear.  In most situations, this is not a
particularly crucial phenomenon.  However, if the vehicle is
moving fairly slowly and the player suddenly slams on the
accelerator, or especially if a race has a standing start
(such as F1, TOCA, and rally races), this weight shift should
be crucial.  As the vehicle weight shifts to the rear of the
vehicle, the rear suspension and tires could potentially take
a lot of punishment.  This is especially important for the
tires, as the extra weight will require an appropriate amount
of 'extra' acceleration (especially if the vehicle uses rear-
wheel drive, which is true of many racing vehicles) to
compensate and get the wheels to turn enough for the tires to
adequately grip the racing surface to help to propel the
vehicle forward.  However, overcompensation could result in
excessive wheelspin, which is quite likely to create undue
tire wear.  

While braking, a vehicle's weight will shift toward the front
of the vehicle.  If the player brakes too late to corner
safely yet still attempts to take the corner even semi-
normally, the weight will load to the front outside wheel (in
relation to the corner; i.e., to the front-left wheel if
taking a right-hand corner) and risk causing the vehicle to
slide off the course in the direction of the front-outside
wheel.  Even if not attempting to corner, the weight shift to
the front during braking requires a little extra care to
ensure that the front wheels do not lock (in those games
which support wheel-lock, such as Pro Race Driver).

In rally racing especially, the trick to successfully
navigating many of the tight corners on the various stages is
to use the vehicle's natural weight shifts to help
successfully clear each section of the stage.  This requires
excellent knowledge of each rally car's capabilities and
limitations, as well as superb anticipation and planning for
each corner.  Obviously, since most rallies are held on
point-to-point stages, there is only one chance to
successfully navigate each twist in the raceway, and using a
vehicle's natural weight shift is crucial to 'getting it
right' the first (and only) time!!!

==============================================

RACING TIPS: WET-WEATHER RACING/DRIVING
Almost everything written to this point in the guide focuses
solely upon dry-weather racing/driving conditions.  In fact,
most racing/driving games deal ONLY with dry-weather
conditions.  However, simulation-based games (such as rally
games) will include at least a few wet-conditions situations.
This can range from Gran Turismo 3 - which uses two circuits
(hosting a total of eight races between Simulation Mode and
Arcade Mode) where the roadway has A LOT of standing water,
as if the races take place just following a major prolonged
downpour - to F1 2002 - where in most situations, players can
purposely select the desired weather conditions for a given
race.  

In wet-weather racing/driving conditions, it is IMPERATIVE to
use tires designed for wet-conditions usage.  For example, in
F1 2002, in a full 53-lap race at Monza, I purposely tried
running as long as I could with Dry Tires, then switched to
Rain Tires when I could no longer handle the car's inherent
sliding about... and my lap times instantly dropped by more
than five seconds. 

In games which offer Intermediate Tires, such as Le Mans 24
Hours, the period when the racing circuit is simply damp (at
the start of a period of rain, or when the circuit is drying
after a period of rain) can be tricky in terms of tires.
Intermediate Tires are certainly best for these racing
conditions, but the time in Pit Lane spent changing to
Intermediate Tires can mean losing numerous race positions,
especially if the weather conditions change again a short
time later and require another trip to Pit Lane to change
tires yet again.  

Tires aside, simulation-style games simply will not allow a
player to drive a circuit the same way in wet-weather
conditions as in dry-weather conditions.  The braking zone
for all but the gentlest of corners will need to be extended,
or else the car risks to hydroplane itself off the pavement.

Throttle management is also key in wet-conditions racing.
Due to the water (and perhaps even puddles) on the circuit or
stage, there is inherently less tire grip, so strong
acceleration is more likely to cause undue wheelspin - which
could in turn spin the car and create a collision.  If a car
has gone off the raceway, then the sand and/or grass which
collect on the tires provide absolutely NO traction at all,
so just the act of getting back to the pavement will likely
result in numerous spins.

In general, cornering is more difficult in wet conditions
than in dry conditions.  To help ease this difficulty in
cornering, simulation-style games will sometimes allow the
player to change the car's tuning during a race (if not, the
player will be forced to try to survive using the tuning set-
up chosen before the beginning of the race).  Tuning is
covered in more detail in another section above, but the main
aspect to change for wet-weather conditions is to raise the
downforce at the front and/or rear of the car; this will help
improve cornering ability, but will result in slower top-end
speed and slower acceleration.  If the car's brake strength
can be adjusted, it should be lowered, as strong braking will
raise the likelihood of hydroplaning off the pavement;
lowering brake strength will also mean an additional
lengthening of the braking zone for all but the gentlest
corners of a given circuit.

Registering Colin McRae Rally 3 grants access (for North
American players) to Nicky Grist's pace notes for a stage in
the Rally of Australia.  While not particularly useful for
gameplay purposes, it does add another sense of realism to
the atmosphere of the game.

==============================================
==============================================
==============================================

ONLINE RESOURCES
Here are a few Internet resources for World Rally
Championship, the actual FIA rally racing series which
provides the basis for V-Rally 2.

Codemasters (http://www.codemasters.com/)
   This is the American Web site for Codemasters, the
   publisher of Colin McRae Rally 3.  A CMR3 sub-site is
   also available. 
FIA World Rally Championship - Mailing List
   (http://www.dusty.com.au/)
   Touted as "the world's biggest rally mailing list,"
   results will be sent via e-mail for each competition.
Rally-Live.com (http://rally.racing-live.com/en/)
   This site - available in English, French, and Spanish -
   includes rally news and images, information on drivers and
   teams, regulations, information on each racing venue, an
   online store, forums and chat capabilities, wallpapers,
   screensavers, and more.
RallyForum (http://www.rallyforum.com/)
   This is primarily an online discussion area for everything
   related to World Rally Championship.
RallyRallyRally (http://www.rallyrallyrally.com/)
   This site covers World Rally Championship, British Rally,
   European Rally, American Rally, and Asia/Pacific Rally
   news.  
World Rallying (http://www.worldrally.net/)
   This site is an independent source for information on
   World Rally Championship, including results for every
   season since 1994 and an online discussion area.

==============================================
==============================================
==============================================

CONTACT INFORMATION
For questions, rants, raves, comments of appreciation, etc.,
or to be added to my e-mail list for updates to this driving
guide, please contact me at: FEATHER7@IX.NETCOM.COM; also, if
you have enjoyed this guide and feel that it has been helpful
to you, I would certainly appreciate a small donation via
PayPal (http://www.paypal.com/) using the above e-mail
address.  

To find the latest version of this and all my other
PSX/PS2/DC/Mac game guides, visit FeatherGuides at
http://feathersites.angelcities.com/

 

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