The term "rally", as a branch of motorsport, probably dates from the first Monte Carlo Rally of January 1911. Until the late 1920s, few if any other events used the term.Rallying itself can be traced back to the 1894 Paris-Rouen Horseless Carriage Competition (Concours des Voitures sans Chevaux), sponsored by a Paris newspaper, Le Petit Journal, which attracted considerable public interest and entries from leading manufacturers. Prizes were awarded to the vehicles by a jury based on the reports of the observers who rode in each car; the joint winners were Panhard et Levassor and Peugeot.
This event led directly to a period of city-to-city road races in France and other European countries, which introduced many of the features found in later rallies: individual start times with cars running against the clock rather than head to head; time controls at the entry and exit points of towns along the way; road books and route notes; and driving over long distances on ordinary, mainly gravel, roads, facing hazards such as dust, traffic, pedestrians and farm animals.
The first of these great races was the Paris-Bordeaux-Paris Rally of June 1895, won by Émile Levassor in a Panhard et Levassor. His time for the 1,178 km (732 mile) course, running virtually without a break, was 48 hours and 48 minutes, an average speed of 24 km/h (15 mph). Just eight years later, in the Paris-Madrid race of May 1903, the Mors of Fernand Gabriel, running over the same roads, took just under five and a quarter hours for the 550 km (342 miles) to Bordeaux, an average of 105 km/h (65.3 mph). Speeds had now far outstripped the safe limits of dusty highways thronged with spectators and open to other traffic, people and animals; there were numerous crashes, many injuries and eight deaths. The French government stopped the race and banned this style of event. From then on, racing in Europe (apart from Italy) would be on closed circuits, initially on long loops of public highway and then, in 1907, on the first purpose-built track, England's Brooklands. Racing was going its own separate way. more at : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rallying
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