One of the most famous tricks in motorsport is the Scandinavian Flick (or the Pendulum Turn). Rally drivers have been using it for decades to help get their cars around turns, in conditions with little to no grip and leveraging their machine’s ability to make a negative (no grip) a positive (speed). As a convenient byproduct, if you pull the flick off, you look like an absolute hero.
Of course, there’s more to the maneuver than just chucking the car into a turn and spinning the wheels. To break down how to properly execute a Scandinavian Flick, we spoke to Wyatt Knox, an instructor at Team O’Neil Rally School and a guy who does this maneuver on a daily basis.
Illustration by Henry Phillips
1Lift, turn, brake.
This is where you counterintuitively turn the car in the opposite direction of the turn. By letting off the accelerator, turning the wheel and applying the brakes, you’re putting weight over the front tires. This motion gives you grip in the front and swings the rear end out. Think of it as winding up before a pitch.
2Turn back, release the brake and blip the throttle.
This shifts weight back to the rear of the car, giving those wheels grip. With the front wheels pointed into the turn, the rear of the car will pivot and rotate back the other way. Make sure you have your eyes on the apex, because that’s where you want to go.
3Countersteer as much as you need.
Depending on the road surface, the back end can rotate at different speeds, so be prepared to adapt. With the wheels pointed at the apex, you should already be looking at your exit. The car will go where your eyes are looking.
Wait for the car to tell you what it’s doing. Modulating the throttle and brakes will keep the car under control as you come around the apex, but it’s possible that you won’t need to touch either pedal and you can just let the car do its thing.
The hardest part is behind you, so there’s no sense in rushing to get back on the gas and screwing it all up. As you straighten the car out, slowly lean into the accelerator and feel for the grip in the road. Now that you’re out of the turn and pointed down the road, get back on the gas and enjoy the adrenaline buzz.
About Our Expert
Wyatt Knox has been the chief instructor at Team O’Neil Rally School for the better part of the past decade. Since he started rallying at the age of 21, he has rarely found himself finishing a rally off the podium. He’s the 2011 2WD National Rally Champion and has racked up victories at legendary rallies like the Sherwood Forest Eastern Regional and 100 Acre Wood Rally.