Lightning + Rally HCs
Unusual for a Piston Cup racer but not unheard of, Lightning’s tried his tires at all kinds of racing over the course of his career. He spent an entire summer with Raoul ÇaRoule once, learning how to rally race. It was the summer of many hemispheres and more timezones than Lightning can count. (And he’d thought the WGP was, well. Worldly.)
- During that time, Lightning’s almost non-existent French did not improve, and Raoul never spoke in English. (Whether he can or not remains a mystery.) But they made it work.
- Because of his love for dirt racing, Lightning feels like he should be better at rally than he is, and he refuses to believe they’re all that different. (They’re completely different, says Sally, in a cutaway, deadpanning straight into the camera.)
- The idea of tackling the elements in such an extreme way appeals to him–you can’t live in Ornament Valley without finding dirt, and mud, and ice, etc. a little appealing. Plus the idea that the roads do exist makes it seem more feasible to him than straight-up offroading. He’ll even accept the rain.
- He doesn’t like the stop and go of it, though, and finds the fact that you have to drive the speed limit in between the flat-out stages borderline unnerving. (Though Raoul points about that he feels the exact same way about taking laps under caution, whenever he’s tried oval racing.)
- Lightning also has a hard time with the idea that you’re not going toe-to-toe with the other racers, and your runs are all spaced out from each other. He’s the kind of racer who functions best when he can pick his rivals, and they’re all running right there beside him. (“I need to practice with real racers!”) It’s hard to keep focused when you’re out on the course alone like that.
- He doesn’t want to be That Racecar, who endlessly compares a thing to his more familiar (read: superior) thing–especially now that he’s building a reputation for being versatile!–but he is definitely That Racecar. He’s just smart enough to be quiet about it, and stubborn enough to not give up.
- Being bad at rally but still wanting to do it made Lightning feel like he’d personally grown as a car. (Not bad at it, Raoul corrects, ever-encouraging. But he’s also realistic. He says, Just not expert. Not professional.) Maybe it was just that Lighting knew he was still expert-professional at other things, though.
- He thinks about that strange, long Summer of Raoul a lot on Fireball Beach doing time trials; at Thunder Hollow, in the mud; in Thomasville, swerving through the woods and taking those giant jumps. He thinks about it a lot.