Volkswagen Team Manager
This Dakar Rally is one of the biggest challenges the drivers and co-pilots can face. What is different about the "Dakar” in terms of organising the team?
"The mechanics and engineers have to deal with quite a marathon every day too. On average,
the crews in the service vehicles cover about 800 kilometres every day. This entails setting off at 4.00 a.m. in order to be ready to service the rally vehicles at the next bivouac when they come in. This servicing work can easily last until midnight – so there's not much time for sleeping.”
What minor adjustments can you make as the team manager in order to make things as comfortable as possible for the technicians and engineers?
"For maximum crew safety on the long service routes, we have stipulated that one team member per vehicle must get at least six hours of sleep. And then there is also a small crew that stays with the Race Touareg until just before the leg gets underway. A different crew does this every day – and this has the advantage that the crew in question can then have a longer sleep. But on the flip side of the coin, this means they also get to the next bivouac much later.
To what extent does good organisation play a part in the success of the rally drivers?
"Good team management involves making sure that each and every member of the crew is in the right place at the right time. It is also important to us that the mechanics are happy, and they can only be motivated in their work if they are able to get as much sleep as possible, get on well with the other team members and are also well fed by our very own chef. The individual work processes are also an important criterion and every member of the team needs to know what he should be doing in the bivouac. This is working in this year's team without the need for much to be said. So I would say that we have once again come on a long way in this area.”