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Rally Lesson #1 Pendilum turns.......

Larry Parker

Well-known member
Feb 11, 2004
Metro detroit

Pendulum turns are a very important skill for rally drivers… The pendulum turn
will allow a driver to enter a corner and maintain a proper line whilst carrying much
more speed than if one was to enter the corner with a road racing type line…..

Pendulum turns or some time called the Scandinavian flick can be used in any type
of vehicle but it is very easy to do in a light weight FWD car but is just as easily done
in a porky AWD galant! Keep in mind that this maneuver is only to be done on gravel!
It will not work on snow/ice….. Well it can be practiced, but will not be that effective.

So the goal here is to enter a tight corner, most often something tighter than a 90deg,
and often employed by those without handbrakes or those with viscous center diffs
that don’t allow for use of a handbrake at very low speeds as they try to slow down
the motor too…..

Gravel tires are not needed for this but would be nice to slingshot after the maneuver is complete…..

First you will need to find you corner to practice on…..

First off take the corner a few time in the normal fashion and notice the amount of speed you can carry after the corner… Also the entry speed you had prior to the corner…..
(if you have a friend that could time you for the 50 yards before and after the corner it
would be a good compare)……

Now that you have taken the corner in your boring old R.R manner its time to add a bit of flair to it……

We will start in first gear just so you can get used to the feeling of sliding the car and how far it will slide whilst sideways…… Remember this is all about a controlled slide!! You
need to learn how far your car will slide with each gear or speed you choose to do the maneuver at!!! Start you turn to early and you are in the berm before the hairpin or
to late and you car is ass up in the ditch!!!

Lets say we are going to do a right turn….. (as seen in the photos below)

Approach the turn with the motor very high in the revs! Like 6500-7000….
as you near the corner you will steer the car quick toward the corner (just a bit)
this starts to get the car a little lose and allows you to “feel” the grip level….
Only rotate the wheel 10-20degs….. (you still are revved out on the motor)
Once you rotate the wheel to the right in this case (toward the corner)
you need to keep your foot planted and steer hard left!!! The amount of
left you turn is determined by the severity of turn you are trying to get around…..
In the case of the turn in the pics I would say with your hands at 10 and 2 maybe rotate
them 90degs or more depending on your steering rack ratio…. This 90deg +
Steering input will need to be fast! Once you have steered it will take a second for the
tires to grip and for the car to react! But you will be ready for it with fast foot work!
As the car starts to move to the left you will fling it to the right whilst simultaneously
lifting off the gas! This will make the rear of the car very light and allow it to come around! Now that you have turned right, then left then right again and lifter your car will
be in a 4wd drift if you lucky and you where carrying enough speed… Now that car
is sliding pick your point and slam on the gas…… Left foot breaking will help to control
the car, but that is another lesson…. The maneuver can be done without LFB’in but should be done with it for the best end result……

So if you timing was right you will be pointed at the center to the switch back that
you intended to go down….. If you turned in at first to late than you maybe to far
and past the corner and vise versa…… Practice this in 1st gear a few more times until
you are happy with the results and then switch to second gear!….. I don’t recommend
going any faster without proper safety gear, gravel tires and in a REAL rally scenario!
the sounds of gravel flying is sure to turn some heads…… I only practice FAR away
in northern Michigan! Near the U.P and only do so with a spotters and ONLY practice
one corner at a time! PLEASE PLEASE be careful! Find a gravel pit or a hard field
to try this…. Use cones or buckets to lay out your “corner”

If you do this right you will win the fame and admiration of your peers and will soon be
known as cooler than most of your friends…. J

Keep in mind that the surface, entry speed and the weight of your car will all affect this…. A lightweight FWD car will be able to do this at a lower speed than a heavy
car….. If you cant’ do it in 1st gear you may need to jump to second, but having you
revs very high is an absolute must as it’s a major part in changing the balance of
the car when you lift as you begin you last hard turn in……

Well have fun and be safe…..

Note that my $300.00 sh*t box was used for this series of pics…




Well-known member
Jan 20, 2004
Bellingham, WA
I found that during rally's I take some tape and tape down the e- brake button, and i'll come into the corner really hot and press the clutch in and put it in first. Then just before the apex pull the ebrake and release the clutch, this is only on 2's or 1's called in the rally notes... otherwise left foot braking works great on 3's
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