One of the keys to a successful Alpine Rally of East Gippsland is for competitors to have a good
grasp of the timing system of the event. It could make the difference between an enjoyable event and one marred by what appears to be bureaucratic strangeness, particularly if this is your first Alpine
The Alpine uses a timing system called Special Stage Timing. It has been designed to
allow maximum flexibility and keep competitors in the event. This is a system that has similarities to (and differences from) both the A to B timing system used in Victorian club rallies and the A to A timing system used for most other events in Australia. It has separate timing for the competitive and transport sections. A comparison between Special Stage Timing and other timing systems can be found at the end of this article.
The entire time taken for the section counts as the time penalty. Competitives also have Maximum Times and these are explained later in the section dealing with Maximum Times.
Transports have a Time Allowed which must be adhered to otherwise penalties of one sort or
another will be incurred. Booking-in before the Allowed Time will incur an early book-in penalty.
Booking-in after the Allowed Time will not incur a time penalty but late time will begin to accrue
There are a number of different ways penalties can be incurred. Some are avoidable and some
Time penalties are accrued on competitive sections. They cannot be avoided and can only be
reduced by driving quickly. Allocated times are also regarded as time penalties – see later for how these are calculated.
OLT (Out of Late Time) penalties
Not to be confused with Late Time itself, OLT penalties are incurred when a competitor arrives at a time control over the late time limit. On most other rally, the penalty for doing this is exclusion. For the Alpine as a continued experiment, the penalty will be the number of minutes out of late time. For example, if the late time limit is 30 minutes and a competitor arrives at a control with 35 minutes of late time they will be penalised 5 minutes. If they arrive at the next time control still with 35 minutes of late time they will be penalised another 5 minutes and so on until either the end of the division is reached where all late time resets to zero or they book-in early somewhere to get back inside the late time limit.
Early book-in penalties
Early book-in penalties occur because either a) the co-driver can’t add up, or b) the co-driver isn’t paying attention to what they’re doing, or c) the competitor needs to get back late time.
Regardless of the cause, the penalty for early book-in at a control is the amount of time early
rounded up to the next minute. 2 minutes early is a 2 minute penalty. Unlike competitive time
penalties which are to the second, early book-in penalties are to the minute. If a competitor books in at 14:23:58 when they should have booked-in between 14:25:00 and 14:25:59 they will be penalised 2 minutes even though they were only 1:02 early. Note that early book-in is allowed at the end of a division (which includes the end of the event). It can be useful to know which time controls are end-of-division controls because a competitor can book-in early at these controls to get back late time without incurring an early book-in penalty.
Other penalties are for the people who do things like wheel-spin at the start of competitives, hold up other competitors and anything else listed in the Regulations as an offence with a time penalty attached.
Do not confuse Late Time with OLT penalties.
The purpose of late time is to absorb time taken up with mechanical repairs, navigational mistakes, and other things that use up time beyond the maximum times set by the organisers. As long as the amount of late time accumulated is less than the late time limit, there are no penalties. Late time limits are set on a per division basis and all late time resets to zero at the beginning of a division. The penalties for accumulating late time are zero up until the limit is exceeded (and it’s calculated to the second), and after that any control arrived at “out of late time” incurs OLT Penalties as described above. The only way to reduce late time is to book-in early at a time control, but until the late time limit has been exceeded or is about to be exceeded, there is no need to reduce late time by booking-in early. With Special Stage events, it is possible to go through the entire event and not drop any late time at all. Late time only starts to accumulate if a competitor books in late on a transport, or if a Maximum is exceeded on a competitive. The relationship between time penalties and late time is that time penalties are equal to the amount of time taken for a competitive stage up to the Maximum at which point time penalties stop and late time starts to accumulate.
Each competitive stage has a Maximum Time and this is the time shown as the Maximum Time in the Road Book and on the road card. Time penalties will accrue up to this maximum, and any time taken over the maximum will be classed as late time.
See the following examples of the relationship between Time Taken, Maximum, Time Penalties,
and Late Time.
Example 1 Example 2
Start Time 11:00:00 11:00:00
Finish Time 11:06:35 11:07:45
Time Taken 6:35 7:45
Maximum Time 5:00 8:00
Time Penalty 5:00 7:45
Late Time 1.35 0.00
In Example 1, the Time Taken exceeds the Maximum, which means the time penalty applied is the Maximum (5:00). The additional time of 1:35 becomes late time and the penalty applied is 1 minute.
In Example 2, the Time Taken is less than the Maximum, which means the time penalty applied is the Time Taken (7:45). Because the Maximum has not been exceeded, no late time is accrued.
The concept of a maximum means that a competitor can take 40 minutes on a stage with a 20
minute maximum but only incur 20 minutes of time penalties, so time penalty-wise they’re not as badly off as they could have been although they will have used up most of their late time.
An allocated time is given to a competitor when they are unable to post a realistic time on a
competitive section through no fault of their own. The reasons for this could include the stage
being cancelled after some competitors had traversed it, stopping to assist another competitor or other delays not the fault of the competitor. In any case where a competitor thinks that they suffered delays on a stage that were not their fault, they MUST submit an Incident Report to the Competitor Relations Officer. Allocated time calculations are based on a comparison of the competitor’s times for that division with those of the fastest competitor.
Timing Systems Comparison
There are 3 different timing systems used in Victorian rallies. Most other states use A to A
This is the system used in the Alpine Rally of East Gippsland. It is similar to A to B in that it has
separate timing for the competitive and transport sections, but the competitives are timed like an A to A event with the entire time taken counting as the time penalty. The transports are timed like an A to B event with no time penalty for exceeding the Time Allowed.
A to B
This timing system is used in most Club and HRA events. The system uses a Maximum Time for
competitives, and time penalties only start to accrue when a time on a competitive section exceeds the maximum time. Transport sections, which are timed separately from competitive sections, also have a time allowed but there are no time penalties for exceeding a transport time allowed.
A to A
This timing system is used mainly for State Championship events and the ARC. There is no
maximum time for the competitive section so the entire time taken for the section counts as the time penalty. There is a maximum time for the transports (which are called liaisons – something was lost in the translation from the French), but this maximum time is for the overall competitive/liaison (which is called a road section). Exceeding the maximum time for a road section results in a penalty of 5 seconds per minute late.