Volkswagen Head of Engine Development
Three questions to Donatus Wichelhaus Volkswagen Head of Engine Development.
What qualities does a successful engine need for cross country rallying?
"It needs to be very drivable over a wide rev range; good initial response
at low engine revs, high torque and, at the same time, superb reliability must go hand-in-hand with high performance. Our diesel racing engine has exactly these traits, which we were able to improve significantly through the twin-stage turbo charging.”
How would you assess the first stages of the Dakar Rally?
"As far as our five-cylinder TDI engine is concerned, we are very pleased till now. In preparation for the rally we put together a very good package from the existing concept. However, the challenge lies in the achieving the reliability over a distance of 15 days and tough daily stages – so, as you can see there's still a long way to go.”
After suffering from a slipped-disc you were unsure for a long time as to whether you would be able to accompany the rally. How are you now?
"My condition is stable. I hope that I can follow the rally all the way to Dakar. We reorganised: Instead of the service cars I use the Team Manager's aeroplane belonging to rally organisers ASO. This helps me a lot.”
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