F ears, that's one thing of the Dakar. Repair the other. For most of the people in the camp, the work begins when the gentlemen's works drivers have long been in the shower and think about what good things are for dinner today.
However, this is not intended to reduce the drivers' performance. Because anyone who has been lucky enough to be allowed to drive a longer distance in a Dakar racer knows that the hurried drive in a rally prototype is anything but a walk. Especially when the top VW drivers Carlos Sainz, Nasser Al-Attiyah and Stéphane Peterhansel wrestle for every second in the BMW X3 at the 2011 Dakar.
Cars are expected by the mechanics
The days when the backlogs on the Dakar were measured in hours, sometimes even in days, have been irrevocably over since the invention of GPS navigation. This is why the VW team can now calculate almost to the minute when the Race-Touareg will arrive in the bivouac and the work for the mechanics will begin.
The logistics of the team is a science in itself. Even the bare numbers sound impressive. The nine service trucks each offer 37.5 cubic meters of cargo space, the contents of which are recorded on 60 closely described A4 pages in a cargo list. A total of 50 tons of material are rocked through South America.
Dakar routine service in three to four hours
72 team members from 20 nations take care of the well-being of the four Race Touaregs. 'The team is our capital,' says sports director Kris Nissen proudly. 'Everyone knows exactly what to do.'
The work in the Blue Camp is progressing surprisingly quickly. Calm and as precise as if an American drill sergeant were responsible for the choreography. 'If nothing special has happened, the daily routine service for the racing cars takes between three and four hours.
Oil change every 5,000 kilometers
All parts are checked, but not the engine. The 310 Powerful five-cylinder TDI is so hidden in the tubular frame that it can only be accessed after hours of screwing orgies. But the engine has not caused any grief for years. The five-cylinder is even very modest when it comes to oil change intervals. The Castrol is only used every 5,000 kilometers. Oil drained.
Shortly after sunset, around nine o'clock, are usually alreadythe tarpaulins pulled over the cars. Sometimes, however, the evening for the mechanics is canceled: After accidents and technical defects, people screwing, hammering and sawing all night long.
Screwed nights in the bivouac
The best example of one There was a major construction site at the Dakar 2007 when Giniel de Villiers hobbled into the camp with a half-burned car and Sainz was also struggling with engine problems. The mechanics were at work from 11 a.m. until 8 a.m. the next morning. And then it was time to get back on the truck in order to rush to the next destination in time.
Such extreme situations show whether a team really works. 'With us there is rarely a drama,' says engine boss Donatus Wichelhaus. 'The team is incredibly well sorted out. There are no accusations between the mechanics. That only happens at the engineering level.'