The Co-driver

In rallying, the driver is just one half of a two-person crew. ‘Co-driver’ is the most commonly used term for a rally car’s other occupant, having been coined in days gone by when his or her job would include driving the car between stages to allow the driver to rest.

However, the term ‘navigator’ offers a more accurate description of the role, particularly in UK rallying.

The co-driver or navigator is every bit as vital to a crew’s success as the driver, with the role encompassing an array of key responsibilities:


The co-driver looks after the crew’s administrative affairs, often from overseeing the event entry and signing on with the correct paperwork, to booking accommodation and making sure that the driver is always in the right place at the right time.


A route note is a description of the road ahead, forewarning the driver of potential hazards such as a sharp bend beyond a crest. It is the co-driver’s job to read these pre-supplied route notes to the driver during competition. A pace note, by contrast, is a description of how quickly the road ahead can be driven. Pace notes are subjective and unique to every crew but they are not used until Motorsport UK British Rally Championship level, so you do not need to worry about them – yet!


The co-driver is responsible for ensuring that the car arrives at each time control on schedule – not too early or late – and that the marshal enters accurate information on the crew’s time card and marshal’s check sheet. At the end of a rally, the co-driver should also check the provisional results to ensure that no mistakes have been made in the results office.


Using an experienced co-driver is a great way for a new driver to learn the ropes and ensure that their early experiences of rallying are as enjoyable and hassle-free as possible. The need for a co-driver also presents a great opportunity to share out the costs of competing, and most crews have their own arrangements for this.

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