Apel contra Apel

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Apel Contra-Apel (from French: "Appel Contre-Appel") also known as a "scandinavian" or "finnish" flick, the "pendulum turn" or simply "feint", is a manouver (or, in fact, several maneuvers) which is sometimes used to quickely unsettle a car with a tendency of understeer, by "flicking" the car, steering in the "wrong" direction before a corner, and than steering ubruptly into the corner. It is usually conducted in cross with power lift-off, or even braking, in order to further unsettle the car. It is, in fact, a category of several methods with different purposes.

  • Double Slide: The driver flicks the wheel while lifting-off of the power in order to create a slide and sustain it with opposite lock.
  • Pendulum turn: The classic Apel contra-Apel. Here, the driver uses a combination of the flick with trail braking. Contrary to the common belief, it is not intended to induce oversteer, but more in order to overcome a tendency of understeer in order to reach a more "neutral" handling.
  • The Scandinavian flick is used to lock-up a pair of tires during the manouver. The procedure can also be encorprated with the handbrake turn.
  • Feint: This method is used to induce oversteer in order to Drift. It's a simple flick under power, just before the corner turn-in, to initiate a drift.
  • Sway: This is a more complex drifting method. This time, the flick is used in order to oversteer the car from side to side, enabling to sustain the drift in the straight sections between corners. The drift initiated is called "Manji drifting". There are other more complex techniques like Chuko Dori, Chikane Drift and Switch-Side drift.

Note that, in modern motorsport, the use of the scandinavian flick is quite limited, since it cannot be used in conjuction with the racing line. It is therefore a method used in tight cornering on slippery conditions (wet autocrosses or rally driving, almost never on tracks). However, in these sorts of motorsport, the cars are usually designed to easily break traction, and the slippery conditions contribute to this, so the "flick" is only nessecary if the car and/or conditions cause a tendency of understeer. Note that if the car is a front-wheel drive car with a terminal tendency of understeer, this action will not work without using the handbrake rather than using lift-off or braking. Re'em Samuel explains the procedure for an Appel contre-Appel:

Tiff nedeell demonstrating the double slide in a FWD:


A. Abstract

Although being a quick action, the classic scandinavian flick incorprates several successive actions. First off, the approach to the flick should be from the outside of the road, but not as far as you would in the traditional racing line. Generally, it should be wide, but in proximity of the center of the road. Now, slightly before the corner, the steering wheel is turned one way. This steering application needs to be relatively small and will not be held for long, just enough to transfer weight, and not quite to throw the car around. It should be done quickly, but not too sharply, too avoid understeering or oversteering so early in the cornering process. At once, the wheel must be turned the other way, into the corner, abruptly. The entire thing has to be done quite early, to compare with the racing line, or even a normal turn you would take.

If the car does needs the flick to get it around the corner, than it's probably not going to be enough. You will need to use a forward weight shift by braking or lifting-off of the throttle, or by excessive acceleration in a rear-wheel drive.

B. Techniques:

  • Double Slide: The driver flicks the wheel slightly away from the corner, and quickly back into it, and than lifting-off of the throttle at once to shift weight forward, just at the fraction after the wheel is fully steered back into the corner (in cars with a greater tendency of understeer, the brakes are feathered all throughout). Now, the lock is being taken off and acceleration is used to power the car through the corner. If the car is a front-wheel drive, countersteer only slightly and quickly take the lock off and power out to terminate the slide.
  • Pendulum turn: In rallying, the wheel is turned out of the corner, back into it, and than most of the lock is taken off. Than, the brakes are being applied moderatly. Having initiated the slide and lined-up the wheels towards the corner, re-introduction of power is used to slingshot the car through the corner, in this case, Left foot braking can improve performance. The driver covers the brake with the throttle depressed, turns away, lifting-off the throttle while turning-in, taking off the lock while putting in more brake pressure. In sharper corners, the Pendulum turn is used in conjunction with the Handbrake turn.
  • The Scandinavian flick is quite similar, except that the driver stabs the brakes (and the clutch) while flicking the wheel the wrong way, in order to lock the front tires (and rear tires) as they are turned back into the corner. At once, when lifting-off of the brakes, the car re-grips and quickly follows the new direction set to the front tires. As the rear cannot follow it starts to slide, and a potent throttle application while taking off the lock, is used to drag the car across the corner.
  • The feint is used in drifting competitions without deceleration. It's a simple, quick flick done during acceleration in a rear-wheel drive. The car will slide through the corner and will be controlled with throttle and countersteering.
  • Sway: As the driver comes out of a corner in a Drift or powerslide, he takes off some of the opposite lock, while still keeping the car turned agains the slide, and smoothly coming off of the throttle alltougether and back again. The car will transit to an oppposite slide. Now, the wheel is used to flick the car about with the back still hanging out.
  • Chuko Dori: Another drifting method, where the driver uses small side-to-side steering inputs with the handbrake to sway the car after a long straight and into a corner.
  • Switch-Side: A method used to drift through dual-APEX corners, where the driver takes an inside line, turning the car to the outside line before turning into the corner. The car is than controlled by countersteering.

We also endurse our own version of Apel Contra-Apel as a method of overcoming Understeer: The driver eases off of the power (or modulates braking pressure) while taking off a bit of lock, and than tightens up the steering while increasing braking pressure. A reversed Double Slide is used to recover from Oversteer in a rear-wheel drive, while a reversed Scandinavian flick is used to recover from the same handling characteristic in a front-wheel drive.