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Team Saluki UAE Desert Challenge Shakedown summary

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The dog's got a new heart. Competing in the Ajman rally prior to the Desert Challenge served its purpose. It was meant to be a shakedown for both the vehicle and passengers and a shakedown was exactly what Team Saluki received. We managed...

The dog's got a new heart.

Competing in the Ajman rally prior to the Desert Challenge served its purpose. It was meant to be a shakedown for both the vehicle and passengers and a shakedown was exactly what Team Saluki received. We managed to break the gearbox. So while the transmission was out of the car for repairs we decided to check on a couple of other things too. We've had some serious reservations about the engine since having it rebuilt in the U.K. in the summer of 2004 and our worst fears were realised when our new sponsors Castrol analysed our engine oil for us a couple of days later. "There's far too much fuel getting past the piston rings so you're wasting fuel, running too lean and washing all the oil off the cyclinder walls too." they said, then added "Sorry to tell you but in our opinion this engine won't last for another five days under race conditions".

We had received the news on the morning of 3rd October, with just 5 weeks until the Challenge. The decision to have the engine rebuilt yet again was made -- we really had no choice but it was to stretch our budget to breaking point - and a series of frantic phone calls began. The engine was removed the next day and our longest serving sponsors GAC pulled all the stops out to deliver it to V8 Developments in the UK three days later, whilst new sponsors Britpart did their best to 'lean' on the engine builders to keep their rebuild costs down. In turn, just 48 hours after receiving it, V8 Developments called us to give us their verdict, but unfortunately it was worse than we had expected. A lot of work had to be done and the bill would be double the original estimate -- this was money we simply didn't have.

To the rescue came yet another sponsor, Al Thika Packaging, who made up the shortfall in the funds, allowing us to call V8 Developments and tell them to go ahead with the full rebuild and modifications, instead of the 'patch it together' job which we could otherwise have afforded. After less than a week, the engine was run up on the dynometer and the results showed an excellent flat torque curve, with maximum power a fraction over 300bhp. This is down very slightly on the old engine's figures, but the new version should be a lot more reliable and the torque more useable in steep sand climbs. Combined with our slightly lower final drive ratios, the 'new' Saluki should have superb dune driving capabilities. Perfect for Liwa and the Challenge.

Thanks again to Castrol, GAC, Britpart, Al Thika Packaging and of course to V8 Developments for turning the engine round inside a week. What could have been a catastrophic problem was overcome as quickly as possible.

Black, red and orange rocker covers go nicely with lime green body panels!

-www.teamsaluki.com

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