Control Zones Explained



For those of you who are familiar with rally, this is old news to you. For those who aren't, it’s a pretty simple concept which basically governs movement of cars, with a couple other rules.

Why control zones?


After both Mini Baja East 2006 and BajaSAE Alabama 2009, the vast majority of teams mentioned that it was the most organized competition they had ever attended.  We attribute this in part to our introduction of the Control Zones around important areas.  The goal is to organize and reduce the work that event marshals have to do. This translates into faster throughput for each event, and reduces potential for error in score reporting. This in turn means that if something happens, you'll have more time to work on your car, or you'll have more time to relax between events.

What is a control zone?


A control zone is an area defined before the beginning of a course, and at the end of the course. There are limitations on what can be done to the car, the amount of support personnel allowed, etc. By limiting the number of people present, and what they can do, this reduces confusion for the marshals, especially if there are many cars in line.

Where are the control zones going to be?


Adapting the idea for baja, control zones will be at the beginning and end of each event, and around the hot pits for the endurance race.

How are the control zones laid out, and how do I know where they start?


The control zones are defined by specific signs standardized by the FIA. By using the FIA's format, it will make it easier to communicate where the control zones are to everyone, including those teams whose primary language is not English.

Here it is in picture form:


What are the rules when operating within a control zone?


1) No work may be done on the car. NONE. No air pressure changes, no suspension adjustments, no chain tightening. You should have thought of this before going in. The only adjustments that may be made may be to safety equipment, as requested by the marshal.
2) Only ONE attendant per vehicle while inside the control zone. Special permission may be given to teams who don't speak English to have one extra person.
3) You must be ready to run the event. Safety gear on; secured, and the motor running.
If you violate any of these rules, the marshal might require that you to go to the back of the line.

How will the control zones work for endurance?


The endurance race is certainly a different animal than the dynamic events. Control zones for endurance will govern refueling and servicing, restricting them to specific areas so that event marshals will be able to do their job effectively and ensure a good endurance race.






Lets use Maneuverability as an example...

Your baja car is approaching the Maneuverability event and you enter the waiting line.  After the line advances a few cars you see a sign with a yellow clock on it.  This is the beginning of the control zone.  You make sure that you car is ready, your driver is fully strapped in, all safety gear is on, and the motor running; ready to go.  You wait here until called in by the event marshal.

When the marshal calls you in, you proceed to the sign with the red clock on it. This is where the marshal will record your car number, clip your card, and check your double-check safety gear.

Next, the marshal sends you to the starting line.  You will see a red sign with a flag.  An assistant will line you up when ready.  Once you are ready to start, time will begin being recorded as you cross the starting line.

You run the Maneuverability course and set a top three time! Your team is going nuts and can't wait to congratulate you.  But wait a second... you're not quite out of the woods yet. 

Recall the rules when inside a control zone:
1) No work is to be done on the car
2) One attendant with the car
3) Driver must be strapped in with all safety gear on, and motor running

The finish line was marked with a red sign with a checkered flag on it.  Past that, you stop at the next sign, a "stop" sign, and and receive you official time.

Once the finish-line attendant releases you, you pass a beige-colored sign with three diagonal stripes.  You have now exited the control zone.