Baja 500: Highspeed ballet with 30 kg wheels It's fascinating to watch a major service at the Baja 500: refuel, tyre change, check the car, wipe the visor and drink - it all happens incredibly quickly. Everything goes at high speed, but the boys...
Baja 500: Highspeed ballet with 30 kg wheels
It's fascinating to watch a major service at the Baja 500: refuel, tyre change, check the car, wipe the visor and drink - it all happens incredibly quickly. Everything goes at high speed, but the boys in the All Germany Motorsports team are anything but hectic.
For the tyre change our Buggy features a built-in hydraulic jack, the oil pressure is taken from the power steering-pump. The jack lifts the race car a good metre off the ground. Within seconds the old tyres are off and the new ones are on. Every movement is planned and practised down to the last detail: A mechanic even holds cold, clean wheel nuts at the ready. The nut gun hammers and we're off. For this high-speed ballet you have to be quite strong. The mighty BF Goodrich tyres with their 15 inch sidewalls on aluminium rims weigh around 30 kilos per wheel ...
For the 420 miles or 673 kilometres of the coming Baja we anticipate two tyre changes at the rear, at the front one set should last the distance. We are competing with a type of tyre that work perfectly on a wide variety of terrains. Should we get a puncture during the race then the co-pilot has to get out there with the nut gun. We've practised this and are currently able to change one of these monster tyres in 75 seconds - which I reckon is rather impressive.
On 27 May I fly to America and on the 31st head down to the town of Ensenada in Mexico, around 100 km south of the US-border. Here the motorsport festival with the name “39th Tecate SCORE Baja 500” takes place. At the moment an unbelievable 475 entries are registered with drivers from 31 countries. On Sa turday, 2 June, at 6.00am the first wave take off in Ensenada to tackle a circular route in the desert, where four checkpoints are waiting. Everyone who manages to get around this clockwise course and makes it back to Ensenada within 18 hours receives a classification. But the path is very tough, very dusty and very long. In 2006 only 221 out of 438 starters reached the finish!
WRC: Change at the top
Things were incredibly gripping and interesting at the seventh round of the World Rally Championship on Sardinia. Initially it looked as though it would be another walkover for Sebastien Loeb. Marcus Groenholm was the only competitor that could match his pace. Then came the third leg and Sebastien's huge off on SS1 where he lost the wheels on the left side of his car. Loeb's co-driver told me that they made a mistake in their pace-notes and were too fast.
Marcus Groenholm won, although he spun as well. Marcus now leads the WRC points ahead of Sebastien - suspense has returned to the WRC. So it's time to pack my bag. I'll get back to you once I'm in the USA.