Part 2 – Pacenotes


Pace notes are the alphabet and the language known only to the rally crew. It is used to define the road we’re driving on. I read this notes to my driver, and by using the information I supply, he is able to know where and how fast he should drive on the road ahead. There are a number of different types of Pacenotes, used currently by rally crews. Basically, all of them are 90% the same, but those 10% are the part that represents each individual crew. The notification system is more or less the same, the most important thing is the understanding between the driver and the co driver. It doesn’t matter what is written down, it’s all about team work. Former world champion, Richard Burns, is one of the best examples. He’s simple system was deemed unusable by most of his rivals, but led him to the World champion title.

I was self taught, but dedicated, from the very beginning, to the true essence of rally. I realized that precise pace notes have the key role. I used on board footages of world known rally driver of that time, carefully analysed each detail during pace notes reading and tried to develop my own style with my drivers.

By analysing the footages I realized that co-drivers’ diction depends on the language he is using. It is not the same if the pace notes are read in English, Spanish or Serbian. I tried to find appropriate and audible words in Serbian and compared it with other languages. I quickly realised that we have a wonderful language with a very simple alphabet: one vocal-one letter.Intonation and reading tempo during a stage are also important and depend on situation ahead. During years of competition I constantly developed the pace notes, realizing that the information should be simple and effective, and if read at the correct time and in the correct manner should significantly contribute to the result. I always pondered what is the first thing a driver should here, what would make the greatest effect and boost his confidence before a blind corner.

In WRC you are allowed only two passes through a stage, there is no way to memorize all the stages, so precise marking system and mutual trust are necessary. I use an A4 format notebook, designed by my specifications, binded with a steel spiral for faster page turning, with hard cover and heavier paper printed with vertical margins. The order in which the information is written also must be present, there is big difference if “Cut!” is written before or after a corner. You must realize that there is no such thing as a perfect Pacenote. It must be constantly developed. If by any chance you use the same Pacenotes for one rally, for years, you are doing something wrong, believe me.

Every change and development of the pace notes are done in cooperation with the driver, self initiated changes are not advised. If I look back, after years of rallying, I come to a conclusion that the essence of Pacenote writing is one thing: “Write what you see!”




© Copyright Aleksandar Jeremić 2008 Design by MG

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