Rallying on the Internet

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The 1999 Network Q Rally of Great Britain, finishing tomorrow, is the 14th and final round of this year's FIA world rally championships. The Network Q Rally Website is good at setting the background for the event and putting it into a wider context. It is particularly good at providing details of the in-form drivers, notably Tommi Makinen, who had already secured his fourth consecutive world title before the start of the race, and the British drivers with a chance of victory, Richard Burns and Colin McRae.

The 1999 Network Q Rally of Great Britain, finishing tomorrow, is the 14th and final round of this year's FIA world rally championships. The Network Q Rally Website is good at setting the background for the event and putting it into a wider context. It is particularly good at providing details of the in-form drivers, notably Tommi Makinen, who had already secured his fourth consecutive world title before the start of the race, and the British drivers with a chance of victory, Richard Burns and Colin McRae.

If you want to follow the fortunes of the large contingent of amateur drivers who race with the élite, the official site, with its full results service, will have the edge over general sport sites. It also has a photo gallery, and spectator information - from historical snippets through timetables and details of new features for this year. The interactive route map allows visitors to click on any leg for full race particulars as well as information such as car park opening times and admission costs. Navigation is straightforward with a well thought-out frame-based design.

The 1999 Network Q Rally Of Great Britain site, part of the comprehensive UK Motor Sport Index, is an excellent complementary site. It lacks the smooth graphics and slick interface of the official site, but has plenty of information to offset its cosmetic deficiencies - something web designers often overlook.

There are inevitable overlaps in content between it and the official site, but it has some unique points as well, particularly for hard-core rally fans. A guide to the frequencies used by the rescue and recovery teams has been posted. So, too, historical coverage with lists of previous winners from Burns last year back to the first rally in 1932.

Rallysport.com is a little off the pace on the design front as well as in content. Internal links are opened in new windows, which quickly leads to a cluttered desktop. It runs a news service, but it is a cut-down one. Only headlines in the first couple of lines were shown, with no apparent way of calling up the complete text. The UK button brought up an empty screen, saying information would be posted two weeks before the event - it still said that two days before the start.

On the plus side, the site carries gossip and quotes from drivers. It also has a comprehensive list of classified ads, where you can buy, sell or trade almost anything from parts for a Fiat 850, through to complete cars and even co-drivers.

If repeated visits to the web are too much of a bind, there is the World Rally Championship Mailing List which has been operating for four years and has 10,000 subscribers. A free subscription will bring e-mail notification of live results and information from all rounds of the championship.

Site Addresses

Network Q Rally Official Site http://www.network-q.co.uk/1999

Network Q Rally Of Great Britain http://www.ukmotorsport.com/networkq/1999/index.html

Rallysport.com http://www.rallysport.com/

World Rally Championship Mailing List http://www.dusty.com.au/

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