Interview: Pierre-Yves Dujardin - Stamina and speed-- In addition to being as quick as ever, the 307 WRC has this year proved extremely reliable and has seen Peugeot emerge in front in the battle for the 2005 Manufacturers' title. The team's ...
Interview: Pierre-Yves Dujardin - Stamina and speed--
In addition to being as quick as ever, the 307 WRC has this year proved extremely reliable and has seen Peugeot emerge in front in the battle for the 2005 Manufacturers' title. The team's Technical Director Pierre-Yves Dujardin talks about the car in more detail--
One year on, how do you explain the reliability problems that affected the 307 WRC in 2004?
"The car innovated in a number of domains, notably the gearbox. Despite what we believed to be a suitably long development period, we lacked a little maturity and hindsight. We consequently had to take certain avenues of work further while at the same time taking a step back in other domains so as to come up with a car that was not only quick but which also boasted the necessary degree of reliability to score points with both drivers."
What has changed?
"Since 2004, our bid to improve reliability has focused on taking a fresh look at certain technical solutions relative to the gearbox and its immediate environment. The latter is quite sophisticated and was developed with a view to speeding up gear changes. However, our reliability problems took longer than expected to cure so we decided to revert to a more conventional system for 2005. This ran for the first time in December 2004 with a view to its use on this year's Monte Carlo Rally. Its reliability immediately proved first class and we have since been able to work serenely. We are still working in parallel on the initial project which could perhaps be introduced towards the back end of the season. However, in the immediate term, a simpler solution allows us to be both reliable and focus our energy on the rest of the car with a view to looking for performance gains in other areas."
"We have worked on the differentials, as well as the car's suspension settings as a whole, including the calibration of the dampers. This work has already paid off and is one of the areas in which we hope to improve further. Over the winter break, we also looked at the car's weight split. The switch to wider track dimensions as permitted by the 2005 FIA regulations has proved positive, especially since we profited from this change to optimise the 307 WRC's weight split and therefore its balance."
Have the restrictions introduced this year by the FIA with the intention of cutting costs had any effect?
"On certain events, especially asphalt, we used to use active anti-roll bars which have now been banned. We have therefore reverted to a little less advanced, but still effective system. The need to cover two events with the same engine has led us to be more vigilant when monitoring certain parameters but the basic engine was sound and well designed. Consequently, this new rule has hardly penalised us in terms of performance and, until now, hasn't posed the slightest problem on the reliability front."
How does one set about making ongoing performance improvements to a package that was quick out of the box?
"The design of a WRC car is quite complex. Every component needs to be reliable and effective and also offer the best compromise concerning the way the different parts of the whole work together. The chassis, engine, transmission and suspension must be efficient interactively and also suit the drivers. There is always something you can do. This year has seen Markko Martin join the team and the observations of a new driver can often lead to fresh opportunities on the technical front. Also, the more running time you get under your belt, the more information you have in order to progress. Testing is vital to fine-tune and validate new solutions but nothing can replace actual competition when it comes to exploiting a car's potential to the full. Rallies are a ruthless judge of all the work you put in upstream and also highlight the areas that need to be improved before the next event. You have to continuously call yourself into question."