Special Condition Events (Hard)
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Welcome to the hardest level of Special Condition racing.

The main differences from Normal to Hard are: each race is five laps instead of three, the cars we're up against are mostly official rally cars with full racing kits (which I termed "Group A" during the Normal part of Special Conditions). And...of course, there's lots more money. $20,000 per win, to be exact.

Surprisingly, we won't need much more power for some of these so-called "Hard" races. But it does help to have better parts equipped including:

Super-Hard Racing Tires (R1) for most on-pavement races. This is what the Ai is using, if we go by what each of these cars are equipped with when we win them as prizes. 

Snow or Dirt Tires for off-road (durrr....)

Medium-grade racing tires (R3) for the Tsukuba Wet event (you'll see why).

A wing kit for some tracks, set at 13 front, 18 rear since this is how the Ai is set at best. Most races are so slow, wings won't be necessary. Again, at Tsukuba  wings can be set higher than 13/18.

Full custom brakes with racing brake hardware, although the balancer is optional for some cases.

Full custom suspension (some cars can just go with semi-racing if they handle super-well).

Upgraded drivetrain parts (when necessary) such as twin-clutch, carbon driveshaft, and lighter flywheels.

Close or super-close transmission. Full-custom isn't always needed to win, but if you need one, spend lots of time setting it to your liking.

Limited slip devices (not always necessary for AWD cars on-road).

VCD for some AWD or 4-wheel drive vehicles. Some others won't need this. Yaw devices come in handy for some Mitsubishis (other than Evos), but be careful, for too much Yaw can ruin a car's handling, especially off-road.

Personally, I prefer to race "regular" dealer-bought or used cars which have been modded up to spec, rather than one of the rally cars with racing equipment. That's what this web page has weight/power ratios for: regular cars which can be heavily modded. If you choose to race a full racing car (an Evo Rally Car or whatever) this guide is obsolete.

Speaking of power. The really amazing thing is the lack of power a good driver can use, and still win. I was expecting to finally need some serious parts: Stage 5 turbos or whatever, to create 500 horsepower, not the 350-ish I ran in that first race at Citta di Aria. Eventually, races do start getting Hard-er, though, especially once we get to the Grand Canyon, Ice Arena, Tahiti Maze, and a couple others.

Citta di Aria
(Umbria Rally)

6.51 (2,000) // 7.89 (2,700) // 8.15 (3,400)

* the above ratios include both rear and all-wheel drives.

All-wheel drive opponents usually make an apperance here, with the rear-drive Renault 5 Maxi Turbo one possible exception. The trick is to find a suitable area to pass down one of Umbria's straight sections. Out-braking in some areas is also possible, but more difficult since there's less space to squeeze by.

Don't feel bad if you get ahead early somehow, especially if you're making your driving as wall-free as possible. The enemy will usually be not far behind, lurking in your rearview mirror, just waiting for you to make a mistake so it can slam you with a 5-second penalty. I've actually had this happen--I got ahead, and stayed ahead for 3 laps. Then I made a mistake in one of those chicanes--got a little sideways. The STi was right there, pinged my fender from the side somehow, giving me a penalty.

Costa d'Amalfi
(Capri Rally)  

normal direction
6.85 (2,000) // 8.16 (2,700) // 9.34 (3,400)

reversed direction
(2,000) // 6.83 (2,700) // 8.00 (3,400)

Once again, there are two ratios since the reversed direction is much harder than the normal one, just like it was in the Easy and Normal leagues. And again, notice how as the Ai rolls down the big hill (normal direction) towards the first hairpin area, it brakes unnecessarily. Tsk tsk. By the time it's at the bottom of that hill, the Ai has slowed down to a near-crawl. I only tell you this as a warning. If you're closely following the opponent at this point, STEER AWAY from it, lest you wind up smacking its tail for a 5-second penalty

In the Reversed direction, it's very possible to get an early lead if you concentrate on passing your opponent in the very first super-tight hairpin. This isn't a true cheat (unless you body-slam your opponent into the wall). But if you choose to pass this early, it won't take as much power as I've recommended. You can use up to 40 horses less, matter of fact.

The power that's derived after doing math from the ratios above comes in handy if you're more interested in not passing here (which can grab a penalty, anyways). You'll need this extra power to keep up with the Ai during the rest of the Capri Rally.

*Note: bad-handling cars can go on R1 (racing super-hard) tires, and may need additional power as well, particularly in the Reversed direction. Don't feel bad about this, the Ai is using R1 tires, so it's not cheating. I just prefer S3 tires when I can get away with them.

Grand Canyon

AWD Cars
6.39 (2,700) // 7.59 (3,400)

4X4 Trucks & SUVs
6.96 (4,500)

YAH! I mean ugh...back at Grand Canyon again. Actually, if you can manage to get the hang of it, Grand Canyon/5 laps can be kind of fun. It's possible to get a flow get some some real drifts going thru various turns; such driving can actually give one an edge at this difficult track.

 On the other hand, GC/Hard can't be tackled with anything sub-par, unless you're really talented. For instance, I was doing some driving with rear-drive cars in the Normal League. If you feel up to it, you can try using the Normal Leauge RWD ratios (plus a bit more power if necessary) for Grand Canyon and other off-road races. But for the sake of my sanity, all the off-road ratios on this Hard page shall be for all-wheel drives.    

Ice Arena
(Whistler Ice Races)

6.39 (2,700) // 7.59 (3,400)

7.50 (4,500)

* During the Easy and Normal Whistler Ice Races, there was a seperate ratio given for the Reversed direction. For some reason, this isn't needed at the Hard level.

And here's our favorite track of all time (sarcasm). Again, it helps to drive even less aggressively on ice than on dirt. Controlled sliding isn't as helpful at Ice Arena like it can be at Grand Canyon. When watching the replay of an Ice Arena or Chamonix race, notice how the Ai drives. Never will they go for a slide, and there's a reason for this. Keeping full traction out of those hairpins and chicanes is key. That isn't to say your car will never slide. Certainly it will. But it shouldn't be your goal to massively slide out in every turn.

Do lots of practice laps if you need to. Brake heavily in as straight a line as possible before turns. True, it's not always possible to be braking in a completely straight line; just do the best you can. And don't apply full-throttle 'till you've got the car relatively straight and ready for take-off. Partial throttle can be used mid-corner for most of this track. So can moments of coasting (no throttle) while carefully nudging your car into the line you need.

Best place to make a pass: down the main straight (crossing the Start/Finish line) on lap 2 going into lap 3. The Ai seems to slow a little or something in that 2nd. I usually find myself catching up to them down this area. I've also managed a clean pass thru a hairpin, but this takes lots more delicate timing so no 5-second penalties are enacted.

And DON'T FEEL BAD if you find yourself reseting the console dozens of times. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten a completely clean pass, and the Ai instantly dents one of my car's fenders with a 5-second penalty. Not our fault, so reset the console, don't take the penalty.  

...On the other hand, if you're having trouble with this course (especially in the Reverse direction), don't bother resetting over and over. It's time to finally eschew my system for once, and use an actual rally car!

Normal Direction--Cars
8.54 (2,700) // 9.77 (3,400)

Reversed Direction--Cars
7.89 (2,700) // 9.36 (3,400)

Normal Direction--Trucks & SUVs
8.70 (4,500)

Reversed Direction--Trucks & SUVs
8.46 (4,500)

In many cases, we can use the exact same braking, drivetrain, transmission, suspension & limited-slip tuning setup here at Chamonix that was used at the Ice Arena, which saves alot of time. Alot less power is necessary, however.  

Again, Chamonix has a looser feel than the Ice Arena. More chances to get loose (some sliding is okay here, but not hoards of it), and more chances to pass the Ai in spots other than the main straight, which happens to be paved at Chamonix.

George V Paris

Against Renault 5 Maxi Turbo
7.06 (2,400) // 7.50 (3,400)

Against Peugeot 205 Evo II.
5.71 (2,400) // 6.73 (3,400)

*Note: R1 racing tires (super-hard) may be needed during these races. This isn't cheating when it's considered that all the rally cars we've been winning so far have been equipped with R1s as standard, so we can assume this is how the Ai is equipped. I've tried using S3s, but they're just not track-worthy against the two French devils that show up here.

** Note: The Renault drives the reverse direction especially poorly, fully slamming walls at times. It's possible to race against it with up to 40 horsepower less than posted above. The Peugeot, on the other hand, tends to drive either direction with only minor wall-scrapes, but no full slams, so you won't need to modify your power in either direction. 

Lots of people hate this track for some reason. After 10+ laps of George V, I'm finally starting to see why. Oddly, it takes a substantial amount more power to accomplish a win at Paris than it does at Costa d'Amalfi or Citta d'Aria. After visiting a spec sheet for the Renault & Peugeot we find that both of these cars have some power combined with a light weight: 350 hp for the Renault 5 Maxi, and 449 for the Pug Evo2. Again, it's possible to use rear or all-wheel drives at Paris.

Note there are two sets of ratios here. The Renault drives a bit more clumsily than the Peugeot, and has far less power, hence it's the easier opponent. The ratios above are good for either drivetrain (RWD or AWD), if the car you're driving has relatively good handling. I didn't use anything crappy here at Paris like I may have during the Easy and Normal levels. If you choose to enter a "muscle car" or something with horrid track issues, you'll probably need to add more power than posted above, or use (R2) hard slick tires.

Swiss Alps Rally

FR Cars--Normal Direction
10.87 (2,000) // 12.98 (2,700)

FR Cars--Reversed Direction
(2,000) // 7.71 (2,700)

MR, RR, & AWD Cars--Normal Direction

11.07 (2,700) // TBA (3,400)

MR, RR & AWD Cars--Reversed Direction
9.64 (2,700) // 11.52 (3,400)

4WD Trucks & SUVs--Normal Direction
13.14 (3,350) // 12.50 (4,500)

4WD Truck & SUV--Reversed Direction
10.24 (3,350) // 9.55 (4,500)

*Note 1: I've seen the '77 Lancia Stratos perform a bit better than Lancers and Imprezas, despite its antiquity and MR layout. It is lighter than these others, possibly why it can get a little faster. Some extra power (no more than 10 hp in an AWD) may be needed to compete against it.

*Note 2: the '85 Lancia Delta S4 and '86 Peugeot 205 Turbo are in an entirely different class from anyone else that can possibly show up. These two were from the infamous real-life Group B class, which was banned after several drivers & spectators were killed. They have 449 horses, according to a GTP guide. The rest of the Ai can have anywhere from 270 to 299 horsepower. For this reason, you'll need to add massive power if you want this faster race against the Delta S4 or 205 Turbo. I'm estimating about 200 extra horses in some cases.

Despite their power, these two put on a poor show most of the time--crashing or spinning at least once per race, just like their real-life Group B counterparts. In some cases, they get massively behind (up to -18 seconds during one of my competitions...seriously) but in others, they recover quicker and may only wind up 3 seconds behind, or thereabouts. Because of this, it's very hard to predict how the Peugoet 205 or Lancia Delta S4 will drive, and how you should approach competing against them.. For convenience sake, just raise power. If they screw up, they screw up!

Other than the S4 and 205, there are some others that can show up like the Ford Escort, '77 Lancia Stratos, and typical Lancer Evos and STis.

Despite the fact that we're at the Hard level, power must still be severely limited, especially if you've not included those Group B autos mentioned above. Once again, the Normal direction is super-easy in comparison to the Reversed. *sigh* It's even possible to bring a few rear-drive cars to seal the deal. 

* I temporarily dropped the 13/18 downforce rule when driving light and middleweight front engine/rear-drive cars, instead opting for maximum downforce in an effort to garner as much high-speed traction & grip as possible. Not sure if this really made a difference, though.

͸ For all-wheel-drive cars: if you've got power calculated (according to the above ratios) and are still blowing your opponent away, you can try using lesser parts (stock brakes, no limited-slip, cheaper suspension parts, etc) in addition to less power.

On the other hand, now's the time to have some fun, letting your vehicle get loose, letting it explore wide, drifty paths thru Swiss Alps's nine curves with a smile on our faces. Some serious cat-and-mouse games can be played with the competition, with minimal fear of penalties.

Tahiti Maze
(Tour de Tahiti)

Cars (against Lancia)
6.00 (2,700) // 7.05 (3,400)

Trucks & SUVs (against Ford RS200) or Lancia (reversed direction)
6.45 (4,500)

*The ratios above are for racing four-wheel drives or mid-engine cars against four-wheel drives that make an appearance. If the rear-drive Renault 5 Maxi shows up, it's possible to remove over 100 horsepower and still win, assuming you've got a car with good traction like a mid-engine, rear-engine, or all-wheel drive. Ignore this if you're competing against the Renault in a front-engine/rear-drive car which hasn't got good off-the-line traction.

Here at Tahiti, the game gets stepped up a lot. Really starts to feel as if we're at the Hard level. 

Now it's only the faster Group B machines that are showing up! So far, I've seen the '85 Lancia Delta S4  along with a new face: the '85 Ford RS200. Of the two of these, the Delta is faster, so you may need to remove a few horses (20 or so) when competing against the Ford UNLESS you're driving a Dodge Ram. So far I haven't been able to beat the Lancia in a Ram (except for the Reversed track), so the ratio above is solely for competeing against the Ford RS200.   

Some tips now.

(#1). Try and get ahead early if you can. The race will still be a combination of a migraine and an adrenaline rush.

(#2). Try to stay to the inside of those hairpins! Even if this means placing an extra brake-tap or whatever. Nose inwards as much as possible without touching any of those wall-nets. The reason this is important is because the opposition will be doing whatever it can to garner you some 5-second penalties, as typical. If they can't reach your front fenders, they can't give you a penalty; hence it's best to keep the front of your car pointed away from your opponent, even it it means taking a line which seems illogical.

(#3). The enemies don't make the transition from dirt to paved track very well, especially in the Normal direction. For some reason, I usually find myself getting a breather of a lead during this section.  They'll usually catch up again up the second big hill on the far side of the island (Normal direction. In the Reversed direction, they usually catch up down this big hill).

(#4). The enemies also slide too aggressively into guard nets and walls, since they have no fear of getting penalties. It's possible for you to slide a bit, letting the rear of your car catch a net, but personally I've found this actually costs time, especially in and out of hairpins. Some sliding/net catches are inevitable since Tahiti requires a very aggressive approach, but don't listen to the cheaters who'll try to claim it's best to do an entire wall-riding race. These opponents will eventually dissolve any lead a cheater like this can garner.

(#5). The only exception to #4 above happens in the Reversed direction, especially if the faster Lancia Delta S4 shows up. At the top of the 2nd hill (where the long right turn & jumps are) you may need to slide lightly onto the small concrete curb that shows up just as we start going back down hill. I've been pegged by the Ai many times at this spot. After awhile, it starts to make sense to simply get to this curb first, so that the Ai can't slide into you or the curb. This assumes, of couse, that you've got a bit of a lead (at least half-a-second) and they can't ram you for yet another 5-second penalty.

Tsukuba Wet Course

No ratios have been set here because no car has  been found that'll truely work yet without blowing away the opponent or struggling to keep up with it.

I've used a Team Oreca Viper, Cadillac Cien, and Amuse/Honda S2000 GT1 so far.  

Cathedral Rocks Trail
(Yosemite Rally I & II)

Front Engine / Rear Drive Cars
6.47 (2,700) // 7.49 (3,500)

The FR Cars class is most recommended for Trail I (the track that's on and off-road).

Front Engine/Rear Drive Trucks
8.47 (4,500)

All-Wheel Drive Cars
8.54 (2,700) // 10.03 (3,400)

4WD Trucks & SUVs
9.44 (3,350) // 9.85 (4,500)

*Less power (10 to 20 hp) may be needed at Yosemite Rally I (the track that's both on and off-road).

Again, not so much overall power is needed to compete at Yosemite, even at this Hardest level. Apparently, there's also only one class of cars to race against. The faster Group Bs (Lancia Delta S4 and buddies) decide to avoid Yosemite. If their performance at Swiss Alps is any indication, perhaps it's because PD's programmers were having problems getting these super-nervous cars to finish the Yosemite Rallies at all without multiple spins and massive wash-outs.

This makes it easy for us. The above ratios can be used with anybody who wants to show up and compete. This list of cars are newer WRCs that feature less power. STis, Evos, etc. 

Not all cars and trucks will need the absolute best parts. I've done these races with semi-racing suspensions, fixed differentials, and close transmissions instead of fully-modifyable parts. Then again some cars & trucks WILL need the best.
*A '71 Datsun 240Z-G was used for lightweight (2,000 pound) class. 

* A Shelby Series 1 was used for middle-light (2,400) class.

* A variety of cars for the Middleweight (2,700) class including Lancers, Imprezas, VW Golf R32, '88 Nissan Silvia K's.

* An Infiniti G35 Sport Coupe, '95 Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4 Turbo, and Audi S4 for the Heavyweight (3,400) division. The RWD Infiniti was used exclusively on paved tracks, while the Audi and/or Mitsubishi were used for both paved and off-road tracks.

* A Mitusibishi Airtrek was used for 1-1/2 ton SUV/Trucks (3,350)

* Dodge Ram and Ford F150 SVT were used for 2 ton SUV/Trucks (4,500)

In all cases, weight was added and/or subtracted to create exact poundage.


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