DiRT Rally

DiRT Rally

1,655 ratings
Car Comparison Guide
By Meszes and 1 collaborators
This guide is here to help you pick the car that fits your needs in each class. Includes videos of all rally cars in game for time comparison from a single stage with personal impressions as description.
Welcome to my Car Comparison Guide!

I created it to aid you in finding the best car in each class. Be aware though that the fastest is not necessarily the best. As they say power is nothing without control and that applies to rallying as well. You may find one car setting a slightly better stage time but overall it could be the worse choice, if it feels a bit uncontrollable and you end up taking too much risk while driving it. Rally is about consistency as if you can't make it to the finish in one piece, you're out. To help you out making the right decision before buying a car I added my personal impressions on how each one handles. You can test any car in custom events where they're fully upgraded by default.
  • Everything is up-to-date as of 26 Oct, 2017.
  • Your mileage may vary depending on assists, vehicle setup, controller type and driving style.
  • Was using a Logitech G27 with manual sequential transmission and all assists off.
    My wheel settings. Also available from the Workshop.
  • All the cars were fully upgraded and tuned.
  • I've completed a Masters Championship with every car to have a good general feel for them.
  • Picked the stage Greece - Abies Koiláda because it offers good variety of tight twisty sections and fast straights. It's been the practice ground for me while tuning vehicle setups, so I'd completed more than 100 runs here before recording these videos.
  • The runs featured are always the best of 3 attempts (not counting restarts). Results were mostly within 1 second to each other and world records at the time of posting.
  • While driving consistency was the main focus, meaning I tried to push hard or lift off and coast through the same sections each time. Obviously in rally no two runs can be identical.
  • ★★★☆☆ represents the handling difficulty (★★★★★ is the most challenging).
  • I don't endorse hot lapping as you miss the essence of rally when doing so.
  • English is not my first language.
  • Watch videos in 1080p60.
Vehicle Setup
I'll try to keep things simple here as this is not the main focus of this guide. What I suggest can be applied to any car and doesn't require you to unlock the advanced setup upgrade (apart from ride height). All the specific vehicle setups that I actually use can be found in my Workshop Collection.

As the values may differ for each car I just use how many clicks the slider is away from left or right:
2fL means two clicks from left, 0fR means slider is all the way to the right.

Note that the defaults are different for tarmac and gravel.
  • Brake Bias 3fR gives better stability under braking while inducing a bit of understeer.
  • Differentials I leave at default all the time as I'd like to preserve the characteristics of the cars the way Codemasters intended it. Changing these can have a huge impact on how they handle.
  • Gears are car dependant and I'll highlight the values used individually. They were set based on the stage Germany - Kreuzungsring Reversed, as the second straight after the start gives a good median value. Goal was to just reach the limiter in final gear at the blue arch over the road.
    Suggested optimal gears are set for fully upgraded vehicles.
  • Suspension / Damping 5fL (in the middle) gives just enough bump tolerance to avoid bouncing off. The general idea is to stay in touch with the ground as much as possible without sacrificing stability.
  • Ride Height 1fR (both front and rear) is crucial because of the curbs and ditches lining the roads. If you don't have it high enough hitting these will send your car flying across.
    You need to unlock advanced vehicle settings (first upgrade for each car) to adjust ride height.

Now that we're at it I'll add my tarmac setup as well highlighting only the differences.

  • Brake Bias 2fR gives even better stability under braking that is important on ice.
  • Suspension / Damping 3fR makes them pretty firm which is fine on tarmac, as it's all about maximizing grip. Also there are way fewer bumps to contend on stages like that.
  • Ride Height 1fL (both front and rear) lowers the center of mass which greatly increases stability.
1960's (FWD/RWD)
03:52.024 - Renault Alpine A110 (Gears 8fL / H-shifter / 990°) ★★★☆☆
04:11.106 - Mini Cooper S (Gears 0fR / H-shifter / 900°) ★☆☆☆☆
04:15.973 - Lancia Fulvia HF (Gears 12fL / H-shifter / 900°) ★★☆☆☆

These are more like antiques than classics. In some way it's not favorable to start the career in one of these but you don't have enough credits to buy any other rally car. FWD means you'll encounter excess understeer and on top of that they feel unresponsive, because the steering has a huge deadzone. Driving them in a straight line is more of a challenge than getting around turns. At first I thought there was something wrong with my wheel, but turned out it was specific only to this car class. Note that a negative linearity in advanced wheel settings gives you better precision around the middle (I use -4). On the other hand driving these is like a Rally School making you understand that slower is often faster, to brake in time and focus just staying on the road at first. Just don't give up as the following classes will offer a better driving experience and much more excitement.

With the latest content update Codemasters added the Alpine to this class, which feels out of place for numerous reasons. It's RWD and the achieved stage times are on par with the 1970's class. I get that they wanted to offer an affordable RWD option but this rendered the other cars useless. I believe it's a questionable design decision.

03:52.024 - Renault Alpine A110
Being the only car with a rear-engine layout in the game, it's definitely unique and that shows really well in the handling. Don't be afraid to let the tail hang out, in fact do it as much as you can around turns and will still be able to collect it. Aggressive driving style will translate to better stage times. However if you just take it easy, with the Alpine being so overpowered you'll still end up high in the rankings. Despite the challenge that RWD offers, it's the easiest way to progress to Masters.
04:11.106 - Mini Cooper S
This bouncy little fella is a good choice in this class as it's more maneuverable thanks to the shorter wheelbase. The downside is that it can get thrown around on big bumps easily, so use caution when approaching them. Feels and handles like a true FWD car so remember that handbrake is your friend, especially when getting around hairpins. Make sure to brake before turning in otherwise you'll just lock up the wheels and slide forward in a straight line.
04:15.973 - Lancia Fulvia HF
Only upside is that it feels less prone to understeer, thus allows better turn-in but overall this car feels heavy (weighs 130 kg more than the Mini) and clumsy. The engine is not powerful enough to compensate it, so the acceleration rate is crippled. Not recommended.
1970's (RWD)
03:51.174 - Opel Kadett GT/E 16v (Gears 12fR / H-shifter / 900°) ★★★☆☆
03:52.340 - Lancia Stratos (Gears 16fR / H-shifter / 900°) ★★★★★
03:53.124 - Fiat 131 Abarth (Gears 8fR / H-shifter / 1080°) ★★★☆☆
03:54.923 - Ford Escort Mk II (Gears 16fR / H-shifter / 900°) ★★★★☆

RWD is a huge step up in difficulty after the 1960's FWD cars but trust me this is where the fun starts. General rule when driving RWD vehicles is that you should control your turn and drift with the throttle. Handbrake is not needed at all, proper weight shifting before the turn can set up the car perfectly.

Here's a great tutorial video on rally driving techniques by Michael E.

Driving RWD cars might seem intimidating at first but stick with it and you'll get to love them. This is some proper old school rallying! Luckily the cars in this class offer a good variety so everyone can find the right choice. Keep in mind that if you manage to tame these beasts then the rest will seem less challenging.

03:51.174 - Opel Kadett GT/E 16v
The Jokers Card. This excels at everything: it's light, agile, has a powerful engine, superior brakes, excellent suspension that traverses almost anything. Makes rear-wheel drive look like a reasonable challenge. Overall the Kadett offers the most complete package in this class. Only going uphill runs a bit out of steam, where the Stratos can get the better of it.
03:52.340 - Lancia Stratos
This is madness. THIS IS STRATOS! It will try to kill you in every turn and punish for the smallest of mistakes but that's why we love it so much. Nothing can beat the satisfaction you get when once in a while everything just clicks and you pull off a clean run with this beast. Don't drive it to get better stage times, in fact forget about them at all! Just drive it out of sheer joy. In the right hands the Stratos is a highly capable performer, especially on tarmac where it's less prone to oversteer.
03:53.124 - Fiat 131 Abarth
A safe bet. If you're struggling with RWD handling this car is a great choice. A solid all round performer and keeping it under control is manageable. You can keep your right foot flat to the floor on the throttle for most parts, unlike in the other RWD vehicles. I dare to say it's dull next to the other cars in this class but a good example of where slower could be faster.
03:54.923 - Ford Escort Mk II
It would be a much better choice if the handling wasn't that loose. For some reason the car constantly struggles to get some straight line traction going, the rear end tends to step out way too easily. But once you learn to feather the throttle to avoid excessive oversteer, you'll get to love drifting around turns in this true rally icon. Recommended only for experienced drivers looking for some challenge.
1980's (RWD)
03:48.524 - Renault 5 Turbo (Gears 16fR / H-shifter / 720°) ★★★★☆
03:50.007 - BMW E30 M3 Evo Rally (Gears 8fL / H-shifter / 720°) ★★★★☆
03:51.607 - Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500 (Gears 0fL / H-shifter / 720°) ★★★☆☆

While the 1970's cars felt raw and rough around the edges, here everything is refined and that ensures an immersive RWD experience. These handle a bit more predictable and despite the increased engine power it's not that challenging to hold a smooth line through turns with them. Don't get me wrong you still need to have a gentle right foot, but there's just less drama about these cars.

03:48.524 - Renault 5 Turbo
It's a strange beast. While offering the best power-to-weight ratio in class, the handling is riddled with terrible front axle grip and understeer. On loose surfaces with the right driving techniques (like Scandinavian flicks) this can be countered and it will keep the car ahead of the competition. However on tarmac it's just impossible to make it work, not even spamming the handbrake is enough to keep up with the BMW. This car just likes to go straight, I think Loeb would have loved the R5.
03:50.007 - BMW E30 M3 Evo Rally
I just love this car. It's pretty light for the class making it nimble, so you get through tight and twisty sections without much hassle. On the other hand has plenty of torque and that can get you out of situations that seemed like a lost cause. Never forget that in RWD cars you basically steer with the throttle! Despite the R5 having the upper hand on gravel I find the E30 simply more fun to drive. On asphalt though it runs circles around the Renault.
03:51.607 - Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500
This one is the safer choice for less experienced drivers. It's heavy (weighs 135 kg more than the M3) and that reflects in the handling as well. While it's more difficult to throw it around corners, the better stability can make it up for someone who's not pushing the cars all the time to their limits. With a better tuned gearbox the Sierra would be a worthy competitor.
Group B (4WD)
03:29.824 - Peugeot 205 T16 Evo 2 (Gears 12fL / H-shifter / 900°) ★★★★☆
03:33.108 - Lancia Delta S4 (Gears 0fL / H-shifter / 900°) ★★★★☆
03:36.091 - Audi Sport Quattro Rallye (Gears 0fR / H-shifter / 720°) ★★☆☆☆
03:38.791 - Ford RS200 (Gears 12fR / H-shifter / 720°) ★★★☆☆
03:40.741 - MG Metro 6R4 (Gears 20fL / H-shifter / 900°) ★★★★☆

The golden era of rally. This class was pretty much unrestricted where manufacturers could realize their wildest dreams. The cars were scary fast with engines up to 500 bhp making them perhaps too powerful for these kind of roads. DiRT Rally does a great job delivering an authentic experience with these fire spitting monsters. Also the sounds are terrific, you just got to love them.
It might be a good idea to test these in a custom event where full upgrades are applied prior to purchasing one, as the more modern 4WD cars are way more forgiving handling wise.

03:29.824 - Peugeot 205 T16 Evo 2
A bullet to ride. Hard to put driving this car into words as it's just so out of this world. The straight line acceleration is mind boggling and despite the superior brakes you'll have to nail the braking points, as it's just so damn fast. Be aware that the short wheelbase makes the vehicle bounce around a lot on bumpy roads. In every other aspect this car is the best and using it feels a bit like cheating, given you can keep it on the road. Keep that turbo spooled and hold on for dear life!
03:33.108 - Lancia Delta S4
Being lightest in the class provides an outstanding power-to-weight ratio. Acceleration is on par with the 205 but the turbo doesn't kick in so suddenly here. The suspension is quite forgiving but snap oversteer on tarmac is still a thing. Even though the Peugeot has the slight performance advantage, I still recommend the S4 as an alternative. Driving on the limit is just easier with it. Not to mention the barebone looks, that undoubtedly adds certain charm to this Lancia.
03:36.091 - Audi Sport Quattro Rallye
The '84 model is a special one in this class. The main problem is that the heavy engine is out in the front which makes the car understeer, overall it handles more like a FWD one. Couple that with a weaker engine and you'll understand why it's hard to recommend the Quattro when going for fast stage times. For less experienced drivers though it's a safe choice, an easy entry to Group B rally. Anyone struggling with oversteer should pick the Quattro in this class.
03:38.791 - Ford RS200
Solid middle ground performer and a decent choice for most drivers. The handling is fine but the car sometimes tends to understeer on corner exits that makes drifting through wide hairpins challenging, often requiring you to lift off the throttle. Watch out for bumps as even the small ones can unsettle the car. The only real problem is with the brakes, that are way too weak for a car with this much horsepower. Apart from that you can't go wrong with the RS200.
03:40.741 - MG Metro 6R4
Where to start... setting a fast time with this one was a chore. The stock handling is awful as the car is just so slow to react to your steering movements. It feels like driving with a terrible input lag, that makes it close to impossible to get the car facing where you wanted to. However once you unlock advanced settings and adjust the differentials, the car starts to work for and not against you. All in all it will remain an underdog.
Group B (RWD)
03:51.040 - Lancia 037 Evo 2 (Gears 8fL / H-shifter / 810°) ★★★★★
03:52.657 - Opel Manta 400 (Gears 16fL / H-shifter / 900°) ★★★★☆

Buyer beware! These tail happy monsters are not for the faint-hearted. It's not easy to find joy in driving them, often it feels more like a constant struggle to stay on the road. It's just hard to put trust in them, can never be sure to be able to recover once getting sideways. Having that much power coupled with rear-wheel drive is just asking for trouble. However there are a few techniques that can soothe your pain. Short shifting helps keeping the torque under control, in general try to opt for using higher gears when possible, for the most part you can get away without using 1st gear at all. Left foot braking is a very useful tool to keep the car in balance, also be prepared to stay at half throttle quite a lot. Start driving this class only once you feel comfortable with the other RWD cars!

03:51.040 - Lancia 037 Evo 2
A snappy pit bull, that is always ready to bite and can take you by surprise. The mid-engine layout makes it responsive, you really need to be gentle with the steering input. This was the only time I'd thought about loosening the stock differential setting, as it would have made life much easier. The body is wide, so narrow sections can prove to be tricky and even small curbs can send the car flying. All in all it's one of the biggest challenges, that requires you to be at the top of your game.
03:52.657 - Opel Manta 400
The safe choice, if there's such thing in this class. Characteristics are determined by the front-engine layout, as a result the car has a bad turn-in ability with understeer on corner entry. Problem is that halfway through a turn when the power kicks in it turns into snap oversteer. In general the Manta handles like a boat, especially on gravel. The good ground clearance just adds to that feel, on the upside it can easily traverse small obstacles. Bit like driving a W140 Mercedes. The body is long, so good luck with performing a 3-point turn in MC.
Group A (4WD)
03:39.674 - Lancia Delta HF Integrale (Gears 20fL / H-shifter / 720°) ★★★☆☆
03:42.991 - Subaru Impreza 1995 (Gears 12fL / H-shifter / 720°) ★★☆☆☆
03:48.007 - Ford Escort RS Cosworth (Gears 0fL / H-shifter / 720°) ★★★☆☆

Where's the thrill gone? You could ask righteously when driving one of these for the first time after switching over from a Group B car. It's still there just more subtle and you need to drive quite a bit to start appreciating the finer details. Engines are restricted to 'only' 300 bhp but on the other hand grip levels are noticeably higher. Rally has changed since Group B days and no matter if it's for the better or worse, we have to live with it.

03:39.674 - Lancia Delta HF Integrale
Because of the shorter wheelbase the car is quick to react to steering input. Feels definitely snappier than the Impreza and that makes navigating through chicanes even smoother. The balance of the car is just about perfect, so no sign of either under- or oversteer. There's really not much difference to these two, the Delta takes more effort to be efficient with but that translates to better stage times.
03:42.991 - Subaru Impreza 1995
It's like a man's best friend that you can trust and will always do the thing you ask for. The steering feels direct allowing you to point the car exactly where you wanted to. It's a real treat driving this car and only the brakes are underwhelming. Make sure you change the torque bias (front/rear) to 1fR under viscous differential advanced settings as the default value makes the car feel understeery.
03:48.007 - Ford Escort RS Cosworth
A good example of the case when more is less. The 7-gear transmission just doesn't make any sense on this car, it feels like you have to constantly shift, while there's little time left between gear changes for actual acceleration. Not to mention that even with the shortest setting there are hardly any straights in the game where you could benefit from the extra gear. The steering is less direct that gives a floaty feel to the car. In general not recommended.
F2 Kit Car (FWD)
03:43.507 - Peugeot 306 Maxi (Gears 4fL / Sequential / 720°) ★★★☆☆
03:44.624 - Seat Ibiza Kitcar (Gears 8fR / Sequential / 720°) ★☆☆☆☆

As good as FWD rally can get. You won't get the same excitement as with some of the RWD/4WD cars but don't judge too quickly. Of course you'll need to drive them like any other FWD vehicle, so brake early, use the handbrake for sharp turns, apply full throttle only once the car has lined up for exit. But on the other hand these got plenty of horsepower to compensate for the drivetrain type. Also they're fairly light, easy to throw around, so use that to your advantage as these reward aggressive driving.

03:43.507 - Peugeot 306 Maxi
Resembles in every way on the Pikes Peak Peugeot 205. As such the handling is really twitchy, especially on tarmac and it takes quite some effort to make this car perform well. But there's a definite potential to it, if you're not afraid to push this angry little Pug to the limit. Throwing it around hairpins and acutes is quite fun on asphalt stages. On gravel avoid ditches and curbs, as despite the increased ride height it has terrible ground clearance.
03:44.624 - Seat Ibiza Kitcar
There's not much to get excited about this one. Plenty of understeer so on gravel it's best to do Scandinavian flicks, on tarmac the extensive use of the handbrake can get the job done. Has a bad gear distribution making acceleration out of tight turns slow. As for handling though it's reassuringly predictable, won't break loose like the 306 does, making it easier to push hard with minimal risk. If you're looking for consistency, this is the car for you in this class. However it's uninspiring.
R4 (4WD)
03:49.990 - Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X (Gears 12fL / H-shifter / 720°) ★★★☆☆
03:50.807 - Subaru Impreza WRX STI Spec C R4 (Gears 0fL / H-shifter / 720°) ★★☆☆☆

The idea behind the R4 class was to bring rally closer to production vehicles. Unlike modern WRC cars these aren't loaded with tech and as a result more emphasis is placed on the driver's skill. They're equipped with a homologated R4-kit but the suspension is rather unsophisticated, tyres are basic. Because of the impressive straight line power it's tempting to carry a lot of speed into turns but the huge body mass can easily catch you off guard. Driving them may seem bland at first but there's something appealing about the purity of these cars.

03:49.990 - Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X
Strikes a perfect balance between weight, handling, braking and power. Steering is responsive making the car nimble, highly recommended if you prefer cars that feel alive. It's still heavy being an R4 and I mean it, so just keep that in mind when approaching corners because it carries a lot more inertia than WRC cars. Other than that it performs well on all kind of surfaces.
03:50.807 - Subaru Impreza WRX STI Spec C R4
The extra 55 kg weight is a double-edged sword. On gravel it kills the already minimal mid-corner grip known for the R4 class, so you can easily find yourself drifting wide into a ditch. On tarmac however that translates into better straight line traction, feels like an invisible hand is pushing the car down all the time. Gears are way off, even with the shortest setting 6th barely ever comes into play. The car is stable but feels a bit clumsy overall, the -10 bhp doesn't help the cause either.
2000's (4WD)
03:43.224 - Ford Focus RS Rally 2007 (Gears 0fL / Paddle-shifter / 540°) ★★★☆☆
03:44.791 - Ford Focus RS Rally 2001 (Gears 4fR / Sequential / 720°) ★★★★☆
03:45.224 - Subaru Impreza 2001 (Gears 8fR / Paddle-shifter / 720°) ★★☆☆☆
03:45.574 - Citroën C4 Rally (Gears 4fL / Paddle-shifter / 540°) ★★☆☆☆

Relive the fierce battle of the 2001 championship between Richard Burns and Colin McRae or fast forward time to 2007. Take your pick and you'll be in for a treat. Either dancing on ice in Monte Carlo, kicking up dust in Greece or jumping over Finnish crests, you'll be rewarded with a great driving experience, no matter which car you choose. Handling wise they're quite forgiving, the modern suspension ensures a smooth ride. The handbrake acts as a get out of jail free card, if you misjudge a turns angle, but it's up to you how much you want to (ab)use it.

03:43.224 - Ford Focus RS Rally 2007
The main benefit of the more modern Focus is the improved suspension. That alone makes driving quite forgiving as small curbs and ditches aren't an issue with it. The balance is perfect and as a result it's less likely to oversteer than the 2001 model. Also weighs a bit less making it easier to throw the car around. If you're looking for a genuine all-rounder, the 2007 Focus is the one for you.
03:44.791 - Ford Focus RS Rally 2001
This is the one that demands more from the driver, but there's a definite advantage to be gained. Has excellent front axle grip, the steering feels responsive and snappy. It's reassuring and gives confidence to really attack those turns, making it easy to point the car in the direction you'd like to. Gear distribution is a bit weird with the lower gears being longer, so just get used to switching down to 1st for hairpins. Suspension is firm resulting in a planted feel. This Focus is a great choice overall.
03:45.224 - Subaru Impreza 2001
Its biggest advantage is being predictable. Balance is slightly on the understeery side, even after setting torque bias to 1fR under viscous differential settings. However once you get it sideways, drifting is a breeze on any type of surface, leaving perfect tread marks behind. Pendulum turn is an effective tool to get some sideways momentum. Suspension is the only downside, as on a series of smaller bumps the car tends to bounce away. The Impreza is a less thrilling choice.
03:45.574 - Citroën C4 Rally
This is a rather special one. On one hand it offers excellent straight line traction, but as a result of the understeer it takes quite an effort to get it sideways even on gravel. To be effective you have to adjust your style and just drive straighter. This is the way the car was designed to go fastest, just like in real life. On asphalt is where it truly shines, German stages will feel like second home. Despite the extra 15 bhp I'd still recommend looking elsewhere, unless your last name is Loeb.
2010's (4WD)
03:36.174 - Volkswagen Polo Rally (Gears 16fR / Paddle-shifter / 540°) ★★★☆☆
03:37.557 - Mini Countryman Rally Edition (Gears 16fR / Sequential / 540°) ★★☆☆☆
03:37.941 - Ford Fiesta RS Rally (Gears 16fR / Sequential / 540°) ★★★☆☆
03:40.307 - Hyundai Rally (Gears 16fR / Sequential / 540°) ★☆☆☆☆

The latest generation of rally cars included in the game shows exactly how they have evolved over time. As engine power has been restricted for a while the focus shifted to other parts like drivetrain and suspension. The modern sequential gearboxes just breeze through the gears, the difference is outstanding when compared to the older cars. This class can get close to the times set with Group B cars, but still unable to surpass those.

03:36.174 - Volkswagen Polo Rally
With 318 bhp the Polo is the most powerful car in this class. That coupled with good straight line traction makes it a rocket flying down the straights. Going around turns it ain't too shabby either, however the Fiesta is superior in that regard. Feels heavier than it is but that's not necessarily a con in this case. The steering is direct and the suspension is firm enough to give a nice planted feel. Overall the Polo offers the most complete package in this class.
03:37.557 - Mini Countryman Rally Edition
A highly underrated car in this class. I'm personally puzzled a bit how it can keep up with the Polo and the Fiesta to be honest. I thought it was heavier than the others but looking at the stats they're all on par. However it feels as if the center of mass is higher on this car making it clumsier. On the upside the lateral grip is good but as a result requires bigger steering input to get the car to turn in. Only the brakes are subpar but that doesn't prevent the Mini to be the aspiring underdog.
03:37.941 - Ford Fiesta RS Rally
At first I thought this would be the obvious winner in this class as everything feels just right about this car. Decent acceleration coupled with surprisingly strong brakes. The handling is fine as the steering response is crisp. It's definitely snappier than the other ones, sometimes makes it feel like sideways is the only way with the Fiesta. It shines on twisty, slower paced stages where the slightly underpowered engine plays a smaller role.
03:40.307 - Hyundai Rally
I dare to call it the unofficial rally school car. The suspension is so forgiving and has such incredible bump tolerance, that this alone justifies the label. Literally nothing can get in its way (except a Hinkelstein), it simply hovers over obstacles. On tarmac it feels a bit wobbly though. Takes quite an effort to crash with this car, so if you do then you should really check your speed. While you're not going to break world records in the i20, it's the best way to get started driving a 4WD rally car.
Pikes Peak (4WD)
02:52.776 - Peugeot 405 T16 PP (Gears 0fR / H-shifter / 720°) ★★★☆☆
02:56.159 - Peugeot 205 T16 PP (Gears 20fL / H-shifter / 900°) ★★★★★
03:00.292 - Audi Sport Quattro S1 PP (Gears 4fR / H-shifter / 720°) ★★☆☆☆

Ride Height should be lowered to 0 (in the middle) for the mixed surface.

Pikes Peak being a hill climb is a special kind of event in DiRT Rally and features purpose built variants of rally cars. Custom spoilers are added to provide that extra bit of downforce required for these runs up the hill. Engines are extremely powerful and as a result keeping these monsters under control can be quite tricky.

02:52.776 - Peugeot 405 T16 PP
Highly recommended despite the insane amount of understeer on this car. Well, at least it's predictable being always there. To counter it you really have to slow down the car enough before the turn-in point, then just coast through the turn (especially on tarmac). On the other hand the engine is powerful enough to make up for any deficit.
02:56.159 - Peugeot 205 T16 PP
This is the complete opposite of the 405. Even with the lowered ride height the car is extremely twitchy, if you try to correct a minor steering mistake most of the time it will result in snap oversteer, sending the car flying in the opposite direction (even more so on tarmac). Use minimal steering movements with this one! Although the 205 has the best acceleration I can't recommend it as I find driving on the limit so hard with it.
03:00.292 - Audi Sport Quattro S1 PP
Easiest to handle in this class as the balance of the car is close to neutral. However the engine is lacking power compared to the others, the worst is when you have to shift up to 2nd gear as the car feels like bogging down. I'd say pick this car while you're learning the route (there's no co-driver on Pikes Peak), then some time later move on to the faster and more challenging ones.
Pikes Peak Modern (4WD)
Peugeot 208 T16 PP (Gears 0fR / Paddle-shifter / 540°) ★★★★☆

Introduced with the latest content update it's an interesting addition to the game, only available for asphalt surface in custom events. Loeb's record setting Pikes Peak car offers an unmatched 1:1 power-to-weight ratio, that makes keeping this beast under control a real challenge, but also a thrill ride. Problem is that at this point it is where the cracks start to appear on the handling model on asphalt, introduced with the V2 pass. Unlike the real-world counterpart, the 208 in game keeps sliding all over the place. Setting up the vehicle for extreme understeer with negative camber and toe does help to a certain extent, but it still won't handle anything like the real one, that just grips like a DTM car. Anyway with the 208 PP being in a league of it's own and nothing to compare to, I just leave this here as an honorable mention.
Overall Leaderboard
03:29.824 - Peugeot 205 T16 Evo 2 / Group B (4WD) ★★★★☆
03:33.108 - Lancia Delta S4 / Group B (4WD) ★★★★☆
03:36.091 - Audi Sport Quattro Rallye / Group B (4WD) ★★☆☆☆
03:36.174 - Volkswagen Polo Rally / 2010's (4WD) ★★★☆☆
03:37.557 - Mini Countryman Rally Edition / 2010's (4WD) ★★☆☆☆
03:37.941 - Ford Fiesta RS Rally / 2010's (4WD) ★★★☆☆
03:38.791 - Ford RS200 / Group B (4WD) ★★★☆☆
03:39.674 - Lancia Delta HF Integrale / Group A (4WD) ★★★☆☆
03:40.307 - Hyundai Rally / 2010's (4WD) ★☆☆☆☆
03:40.741 - MG Metro 6R4 / Group B (4WD) ★★★★☆
03:42.991 - Subaru Impreza 1995 / Group A (4WD) ★★☆☆☆
03:43.224 - Ford Focus RS Rally 2007 / 2000's (4WD) ★★★☆☆
03:43.507 - Peugeot 306 Maxi / F2 Kit Car (FWD) ★★★☆☆
03:44.624 - Seat Ibiza Kitcar / F2 Kit Car (FWD) ★☆☆☆☆
03:44.791 - Ford Focus RS Rally 2001 / 2000's (4WD) ★★★★☆
03:45.224 - Subaru Impreza 2001 / 2000's (4WD) ★★☆☆☆
03:45.574 - Citroën C4 Rally / 2000's (4WD) ★★☆☆☆
03:48.007 - Ford Escort RS Cosworth / Group A (4WD) ★★★☆☆
03:48.524 - Renault 5 Turbo / 1980's (RWD) ★★★★☆
03:49.990 - Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X / R4 (4WD)
03:50.007 - BMW E30 M3 Evo Rally / 1980's (RWD) ★★★★☆
03:50.807 - Subaru Impreza WRX STI Spec C R4 / R4 (4WD)
03:51.040 - Lancia 037 Evo 2 / Group B (RWD) ★★★★★
03:51.174 - Opel Kadett GT/E 16v / 1970's (RWD) ★★★☆☆
03:51.607 - Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500 / 1980's (RWD) ★★★☆☆
03:52.024 - Renault Alpine A110 / 1960's (RWD) ★★★☆☆
03:52.340 - Lancia Stratos / 1970's (RWD) ★★★★★
03:52.657 - Opel Manta 400 / Group B (RWD) ★★★★☆
03:53.124 - Fiat 131 Abarth / 1970's (RWD) ★★★☆☆
03:54.923 - Ford Escort Mk II / 1970's (RWD) ★★★★☆
04:11.106 - Mini Cooper S / 1960's (FWD) ★☆☆☆☆
04:15.973 - Lancia Fulvia HF / 1960's (FWD) ★★☆☆☆

02:52.776 - Peugeot 405 T16 PP / Pikes Peak (4WD) ★★★☆☆
02:56.159 - Peugeot 205 T16 PP / Pikes Peak (4WD) ★★★★★
03:00.292 - Audi Sport Quattro S1 PP / Pikes Peak (4WD) ★★☆☆☆

Final Thoughts
Thank you for having a look at my guide and any feedback is appreciated! This is my first ever so go easy on me. I plan on updating it as additional contents get released for the game but no promises.

Thanks goes to Codemasters for creating this awesome game. Even bigger thanks to Michael E. for contributing with his comprehensive tutorial video. Credit goes to Karik for collecting transmission type and degrees of rotation info.

I wish you all lot of fun with DiRT Rally! Cheers.
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-=RiP=-Gorzki May 23 @ 12:44pm 
Rly good job.
When U do same thing with DR 2.0 ?
atwaterfe Jan 25 @ 9:05am 
Certain cars seem to feel a lot better on keyboard than others. Personally I think the 131 Abarth handles really well on keyboard while the Escort Mk II is awful.
kfesitho (the magic way) Dec 16, 2019 @ 3:19pm 
i raced classes from left to right and the only time i regret having done that was when i reached group B RWD. those things are a nightmare.
IX Dec 16, 2019 @ 12:11pm 
Would you recommend any sort of rough timeframes of when you should move onto each class of car, or is it just whenever you feel like you're ready?
kfesitho (the magic way) Nov 26, 2019 @ 7:40am 
as a keyboard player i recommend oversteery cars tuned to be understerry on straights. the perfect example of this would be the stratos because it oversteers so much in the curbs but tuning the front to understeer makes it go straight without having to correct too much. i think the stratos is the perfect car for keyboard players.
alessandronl Sep 21, 2019 @ 5:41am 
thank you for this guide but dus this stil aplly to if you use a keyboard for driving?
Meszes  [author] Sep 7, 2019 @ 9:35pm 
@Eagle Beak [4ID]
It's an issue of time at this point. Given how obsessive I'm about games that I enjoy playing, I'd probably end up with spending way too much time.

But it's great to hear that DR 2.0 is doing well, probably better than it was at launch.
Eagle Beak [4ID] Sep 7, 2019 @ 8:04am 
Meszes, thank you very much for your work on this guide. It has proven very very useful in my Dirt Rally career.

I'm curious, why are you not interested in Dirt Rally 2.0? I would love to have your input on the cars in the sequel as well. 2.0 makes Dirt Rally 1 obselete, honestly. Everything about the game (except for RaceRoom, which nearly broke it), is improved.

If its just an issue of money, friend me and we'll work something out.
Meszes  [author] Sep 3, 2019 @ 12:22pm 
In Sweden I used the gravel ones, in Monte Carlo the tarmac ones. Be aware that the linked setups are pretty basic, slightly modified version of the default ones, so there's much more to be gained with further tweaking. If you're not familiar with that, these are "good enough" I'd say.

Thank you.
YayJohn Sep 3, 2019 @ 12:13pm 
What do I put on snow tracks?