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The sport of rallying is fast becoming popular around the world. With races taking place on countries around the world, the internet is an invaluable resource to fans around the globe. The official site of the World Rally Championship (WRC) can be found at www.wrc.com. There are other unofficial sites such as, www.worldrally.net, and www.worldrallynews.com. All three of these sites provide information regarding the many races, drivers, and teams. Although they have similar information, the exact information that is provided, and the format in which they are delivered are different. This paper will discuss the similarities and differences between the websites, as well as the effectiveness of the websites in presenting their information in a sensible and enjoyable manner.
First, a little information about the WRC. Perhaps one of the most demanding racing sports, the WRC consists of cars racing over courses in some of the most breathtaking locations around the world. From Japan, to Greece to Finland, the races take place in over 15 countries. What sets the WRC apart is the physical location of the races. There are few paved roads, or nicely banked curves. Most of the driving is done “off-road.” This means that the conditions are extremely varied, from gravel to rocks, rain, snow, anything is fair game. Because of this, the teams must evaluate the course and choose the proper car parts to use. The courses are not a straight line either. They wind back and forth, up and down over different surfaces. To aid the driver, a co-driver rides shotgun, giving out commands that let the driver know what lies ahead. The cars are timed against each other, but not run along side each other. Many of the courses are only wide enough for a single car to pass through at a time. Thus, the cars are sent out in intervals, and the resulting times measured against each other after completion. With this background on the WRC, let’s examine the different web sites that provide information about this sport to its fans.
World Rallying (www.worldrally.net), is a second rate website at best. When the page is first loaded up, there is a blinking add at the top of the screen which greatly detracts from the rest of the site.
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"A Student Compares Websites on Rally Racing." 123HelpMe.com. 25 Feb 2020
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Slightly better than the World Rallying website, is that of the World Rally News (www.worldrallynews.com). This magazine claims to be an “independent webzine” of the WRC. This is apparent on the homepage of the site. Right in the middle is a list of headlines that can be clicked to access the full story. This seems to be like a magazines table of contents, not very flashy but quickly gets you to articles that would interest you. The homepage also contains a search feature that is very handy for finding information quickly, instead of digging through the huge amount of headlines. The right hand side of the web page is full of ads. This does detract from the website, but the ads are for companies related to rallying. The site also features a navigation bar at the top to quickly access different topics similar to that of the World Rallying website. The most useful would probably be the new archive. This is a listing of all the headlines over the past three years. While the vast information is nice to have, it is almost overwhelming to look through. This is where the search bar comes in rather handy. The website also contains sections on the races, drivers and teams. They are all essentially the same. Each has a short bio on the driver or track, as well as co-drivers and sponsoring companies. Again, this is good information, but it is very plain to look at. It consists largely a of text block that is quite boring. Someone looking for cold hard facts would find this great, but most people would probably like to at least see some more color on the site. What was most disappointing about the site was the seeming lack of pictures. The ads on the site provide more graphics than the Rally News website itself. The claim of this website as a “webzine” seems to be right on. A massive archive of headlines is the highlight of this website. And while it’s not much to look at, it does contain a wealth of information. For someone on the go who would like to look at this like a magazine from time to time, the site does the job.
It would be expected that the official site of the WRC would be the best one, and www.wrc.com does well to prove this. The homepage of the site is very slick. The sleek layout is very impressive. They have incorporated both graphics and text, which provide useful information right up front, while making the site enjoyable to look at. It features a rotating headline, which scrolls through multiple topics. It also all fits on one page, which means you can see everything at once. Also, the ads are kept to a minimum, which allows the focus to remain on the content of the website. Across the top of the site is a navigation bar, similar to the other two sites. However, this bar has more categories, which allows you to find information more quickly.
The results page is very well done. Unlike the other page, these results are presented in a visually pleasing way. The main standings are presented up front, while more detailed results can be obtained by clicking the related links. One of the nicest parts of the website is the information on the rally courses. A short bio on each course is presented with pictures. Information is also provided on where the best spots are to watch the race. Restaurants, hotels, and directions are also provided for fans that would be in the area of the race. The site even allows you to search for television coverage of the races from channels around the world. This site seems to have really focused on providing information for the casual fan up front, while allowing the more knowledgeable fans to quickly access the more detailed information. This is different from the other two sites that seemed to mix all the information together.
Whereas the other two sites seemed to have little to no multimedia, the official WRC site has a massive collection of pictures, as well as wallpapers, and even information on the new WRC video game that is coming out. The pictures can even be sorted by driver, race, season or team.
After examining all three websites, it is clear that the official website of the WRC is far and away better than the two unofficial websites examined in this paper. The official site seems well aimed at both the casual WRC fan, as well as the WRC guru. The other two sites do provide information, but on a very straightforward basis. All three sites have a similar navigation bar to move around the site. While they all do the job, the official site seems to have the topics separated out better allowing for quicker access to specific information. Visually speaking, the official site is far superior. The simple use of graphics adds a great deal to the site. It keeps the viewer interested while reading up on the latest WRC news. Whether you’re new to the WRC and just looking to get some background about the sport, or a hard core rallying enthusiast, the official WRC website will provide all the information you want in an entertaining manner. If you’re only looking for a quick text only story, the other sites may suffice.