Three questions to Donatus Wichelhaus
The first night in the tent in the bivouac at Er Rachidia put the Volkswagen squad to a tough test. Although in sunny weather daytime temperatures rose to 14 degrees, the thermometer dropped to 3 below zero at night. Despite special
winter sleeping bags and splat mats the tents got very chilly. From Tan Tan the next day, the rally participants can expect more friendly conditions.
Carlos Sainz as a promoter of young talent
Whenever Volkswagen factory driver Carlos Sainz is not busy contesting cross-country rallies the two-time World Rally Champion devotes his time to the racing career of his son. 12-year-old Carlos jr. will compete in karting in Spain as well as in Italy in 2007. In 2006 he finished third in the Catalonian championship, won the Madrid championship and claimed third place in Italy. “His interest in rallying is nearly nil,“ says a disappointed Sainz sr. « My son's idol is Fernando Alonso
Straight from the desert
Daily interviews and background info - during the Dakar Rally Eurosport and ARD's morning news programme “Morgenmagazin”, air direct reports from the Dakar Rally's bivouac, including, among others, interviews with members of the Volkswagen factory.
Three questions to Donatus Wichelhaus, Head of Engine Development
On the fifth leg of the Dakar Rally the route leads across the Atlas mountains in Morocco. How was the Volkswagen Race Touareg 2 team prepared for extreme Altitudes ?
« In 2006 we performed a two-day high-altitude test with a test vehicle on the Großglockner to assure the operational liability of the engine in thin air conditions.
How do you conduct such a test ?
« We ran the test at an altitude between 1000 and 2700 metres on a blocked road and worked out the altitude adaptation for the engine under full load. »
How does the Volkswagen Race Touareg 2 detect the altitude at which it operates ?
« An ambient pressure sensor fitted to the engine control unit is used to detect the distance to sea level. This technology has been in use for a long time in production road cars but in racing has only been used with rallies so far. »