Looking for some Dirt Rally tips? Well, first of all, don’t cut. No. Seriously. Don’t – cut.
Now, I’m not exactly a pro. WTLS is more or less a team of pro-tech-writers – not racers. But, still, as someone who always finishes somewhere at the top of the top tier, I think I’m at least a bit qualified to give you a few basic tips that will help you become faster.
Do keep in mind that all of these tips can be applied to both Dirt Rally and Dirt Rally 2.0.
1: Listen to My Calls Samir
First things first, I know that this goes without saying. But, listen to your co-driver. Seriously. It’s very important.
There are some pro racers that somehow manage to finish without listening to their co-driver. But, these are real-life pros. Not gamers.
In case you’re just starting out and you’re not too familiar with rally calls, we basically use numbers from 1 to 6 in order to define how sharp or flat the upcoming corner is. The lower the number, the tighter that the corner is going to be.
So, basically, left 1 means that the upcoming turn is going to be a slow left. Speaking of which, a common misconception is that these numbers always represent what gear we should be in while taking a corner. That’s completely false.
Trying to take a 5 or even a 6 at 5th gear on maximum rev with some of the most powerful Group B cars is suicidal. Of course, that highly depends on the stage and the specific car. But, you get the point.
So, the system is pretty straight forward. But, there are some other, high-alert calls to keep in mind as well.
- Don’t cut: This means that there is something dangerous on the side of the corner and that you should stay on the road. It could be because of a rock or something like that
- Gate: Gate ahead. Stay in the middle of the road to avoid crashing
- Square: 90-degree corner
- Hairpin/Acute: Usually a 180-degree turn
- Crest/Bump/Jump: Describes small details on the road. Be particularly wary of jumps since there is not a whole lot of control in the air
- Deceptive: You’ll usually find this in corners with low visibility where you won’t be able to see how tight the turn really is
2: Know Your Limits
A big part of rally racing is knowing your limits and staying well below them at all times. That’s because driving close to the limits means that we’re more likely to make a mistake.
And, sure. Rally racing is ultimately that. Racing. So, it makes sense for us to wanna go as fast as possible.
The question is, what’s faster? Driving as fast as possible and crashing every once or twice per stage? Or going just a little bit slower and finishing without an issue?
This is even more useful at online challenges where there is no restart button. Not to mention the weekly and monthly challenges that require you to be very careful just for making it to the finish line.
Overall, take a step back, get to know yourself and your limits, then stay under them for as long as possible.
3: Learn How to Drive
This goes without saying, but knowing how to drive is very important. And rally driving can be a bit more complicated than you may think.
It’s not all about the simple things like braking, throttle control, and turning (Though, they do obviously play a massive role). There are also a few things that are not visible at first, such as oversteer control, weight balance, racing lines, various techniques like the “Heel and Toe” or the “Scandinavian Flick”, and more.
If all that sounds like Greek to you, then you should probably consider looking into that kind of stuff. There are a ton of helpful guides online.
Do keep in mind that some techniques are impossible to use on a gamepad or keyboard. Especially a keyboard. For example, if memory serves right, the game automatically pushes the throttle a little when we downshift on a gamepad. So, without a wheel, it basically performs the “Heel and Toe” automatically for you – even with all the assists being disabled.
Other than that, do also consider learning how to tune a car to your personal preference. In most cases, it seriously didn’t help me a lot. But, some cars on certain surfaces felt very tough to control without at least adjusting the suspension a bit.
With all of that being said, each car feels different. Especially when you switch from a front-wheel-drive to a rear-wheel-drive. So, take some time to get used to the different cars of your preference as well.
4: Consider Getting a Wheel
If you can afford it, a budget sim-racing setup helps a lot in getting faster and having more fun as well.
Now, we’re not saying that getting a wheel with pedals will automatically make you faster. But, what we’re saying is that it helps a lot with precision movements. And with practice, this is what’s going to make you both faster and more consistent.
As for which wheel to get, we personally wouldn’t recommend anything less than the Logitech G29. This is as cheap as one can go without completely butchering quality and the driving experience.
One of the most important reasons that the G29 is the bare minimum is because it offers a somewhat decent force feedback motor. That’s essential for feeling the movements of your car – not to mention for extra immersion.
Speaking of immersion, consider getting a shifter as well. After all, most of the older cars in Dirt Rally use a classic shifter.
5: Consider Getting Rid of Any Assists
There is a bit of a stigma with assists and racing sims. But, that’s not what this is about. Using any assists is ok and that’s completely up to you to decide.
However, do keep in mind that car assists reduce the level of control and precision. At least that’s how it felt for me. It’s as if you can no longer feel the weight of the car all that much anymore and that makes driving feel a bit dull and maybe even slower.
So, if you can get used to driving without any assists and taking full control over the car, then that’s probably going to benefit you in the long run.
Just do keep in mind that budget gamepads need a few assists. Especially those that don’t provide a lot of throttle and breaking control.
I once tried playing with a 10$ gamepad and breaking without the front wheels locking up or using the throttle without a rear-wheel-drive car going out of control was kind of impossible.
So, again, in some cases, there is no option but to rely on assists. If you’ve got the equipment to get rid of them, we’d recommend doing so.
Dirt Rally Tips: Summary
That’s all for now. If all these Dirt Rally tips are a bit too much information for you to take in at once, here’s everything that we talked about in nutshell:
- Listen to the calls of your co-driver
- Always drive under your limits (unless you’re practicing on a private session)
- Invest a bit of time into learning at least the basics of how to drive a rally car (Weight shifting, oversteering, etc)
- Consider buying a budget sim-racing setup (Wheel, pedals, and shifter)
- Get rid of driving assists if you can afford to do so. In the end, this will give you more control over the car