7 days until the 2010 Dakar Rally
Detailed procedures for Volkswagen technicians at the "Dakar"
Wolfsburg (26 December 2009). The real work actually begins for the team when the five Volkswagen Race Touaregs with drivers Carlos Sainz, Giniel de Villiers, Mark Miller, Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mauricio Neves arrive at the bivouac after a stage of the Dakar Rally: Within a few hours the powerful 300 hp "Dakar" prototypes must be perfectly serviced, freshly washed and wait at the start for the following day. "Cross country rallying is a team sport. The engineers and mechanics work is extremely important, thanks to the daily service they always provide the drivers and co-drivers with the best material," explains Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen.
Detailed work schedules determine exactly which tasks are to be done during the evening service on the Race Touareg. Responsible for this is Team Director Rainer Fleischmann. "Indeed you don't make yourself popular when, like I, you give others instructions about what has to be done and how they should do it," he explains. "However, it has proved to be of great value that we have optimised every detail and documented the procedure for the standard daily work from setting up the bivouac to servicing the vehicles."
With the help of a basic chassis checklist and integrated detail lists for the specialist departments engine, electronics and transmission the work is distributed intelligently and efficiently. The individual tasks - such as inspecting and changing components - are exactly documented on work schedules in both DIN A3 and A4 formats. In the process everybody - including the car chief, who is responsible for the respective race car, the three mechanics per car and the engineers - tick off which work was finished and with their signature guarantees that the work was carried out perfectly. "This procedure brought immense calm into the daily routine during the rally, the team members accepted it well and implemented it professionally," explains Fleischmann. "This gives us the strength to react in the correct way without hesitation when unforeseen things like minor damage occur."
The Race Touareg consists - except for the TDI engine - from approximately 5,000 single components. Every part is catalogued electronically. During the rally every change of a part is logged with the help of barcode scanners. "During the cross country rally we have precise information about the mileage of single components and a permanent overview of the mobile parts warehouse on the service trucks transporting almost 50 tonnes of material for the team," explains the Team Director. At night in the bivouac the five diesel prototypes are equipped perfectly for the next daily stage covering a length of between 182 and 600 kilometres against the clock.