Rallying is possibly the most dangerous, yet spectator-thrilling motorsport there is. Where else can you get close enough to the course to witness the concentration on a drivers' face, or receive a shower of dirt as one of the 300bhp beasts rounds a bend?
The above are just two reasons why the World Rally Championship has such a huge global following, with tens of thousands of fans turning up to each event.
Fourteen rallies make up the eleven–month long season, with the terrain ranging from high-altitude Argentinian passes to the sub-zero plains of Finland.
AOL Cars was invited along to the scenic Rally Germany by rally winners – not that they knew it at the time – Volkwagen Motorsport to get a better perspective on the championship.
VW WRC runs three cars in two teams. The first, Volkswagen Motorsport, features drivers Sébastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala, alongside their respective co-drivers Julien Ingrassia and Miikka Anttila.
Meanwhile, Andreas Mikkelsen and his co-pilot, Anders Jaeger compete for VW Motorsport II.
All three pairs run the same 1.6-litre, 318hp Volkswagen Polo WRC. Based on the road-going Polo, the WRC has been heavily modified to meet FIA regulations.
It was Ogier and Ingrassia who took the manufacturer's title at Rally Germany, repeating a success seen on the asphalt this time last year.
Mikkelsen and Jeager came fourth in the rally, adding to the Norwegian's reputation as one of the most promising young drivers on the circuit. Unfortunately, a damaged gearbox on the first day saw Latvala and Anttila finish 48th over the weekend.
However, due to strong performances in earlier rallies, the Finn currently sits in fifth place in the driver's championship standings, behind Ogier in the top spot, and Mikkelsen in second.
Volkswagen Motorsport occupies the top spot in the manufacturers' championship with 256 points, while Motorsport II is fourth with 121.