Wales Rally GB preview: how to jump at 120mph in a World Rally Car
Source : Wales Rally GB preview: how to jump at 120mph in a World Rally Car
Ahead of Wales Rally GB, the final round of the globe Rally Championship, Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville explains the secrets behind tackling flat-out jumps
Thierry Neuville includes a penchant for getting four wheels off the ground. Earlier This specific year Hyundai’s World Rally Championship driver achieved the longest-ever jump at the famous Colin’s Crest in Sweden, flying 44m through the air in addition to smashing Ken Block’s 37m record coming from 2011 from the process.
of which’s often the money-shot of a rally stage, nevertheless behind the spectacle of a jump there is usually a precise science of which relies on perfect synchronisation between driver, co-driver in addition to machine.
Talking to Neuville in Finland, where he’s testing for the 2016 season, the secret to his Colin’s Crest success sounds fairly simple: “I stayed flat on the throttle”.
nevertheless the Belgian explains there’s a lot more to of which than a heavy right foot, in addition to not every jump allows a hell-for-leather flat-out approach at 120mph.
Indeed, Neuville describes how each jump has its own characteristics, in addition to the greatest challenge is usually what comes before in addition to after of which; the approach in addition to landing are key to the jump’s success.
“As soon as you brake the auto goes down on its dampers,” Neuville explains. “When you get up to the crest in addition to Discharge the brakes the auto comes out of the dampers in addition to the springs push the auto up as you take off, so you get a actually big jump.
“nevertheless you’re not aiming due to This specific, you don’t want the highest jump,” he warns. “You have to be very careful to be off the brakes before you jump. This specific is usually the main thing, if not you can have high jumps of which lose you time.
“Don’t brake too late, in addition to don’t brake too early,” he emphasises.
Slower jumps in addition to crests are taken in gears two to four, in addition to the rule of thumb for them is usually simple: the less time your wheels are from the air, the faster you go. of which’s because you need to get traction back as fast as possible to pick up speed again. nevertheless for the fast jumps of which are tackled in sixth gear, you need to be low in addition to you need to be fast, in addition to well-timed braking is usually still crucial on landing.
One of the many dangers is usually damaging the front of the auto. “If the nose is usually pointing down from the air you can land on the front in addition to damage the radiator,” he says.
“If you keep on the brake as soon as you lift off the throttle in addition to take off, the front goes down in addition to you will hit the nose when you land.
At WRC level drivers get to recce the stages before the event to make pace notes, in addition to generating accurate descriptions of the jumps is usually of paramount importance.
“You have to have very not bad pace notes with your co-driver coming from the recce to help you get the auto on the correct line before you go over the jump so you can land on the right point afterwards. Especially when there are corners straight after the jump, because you want to land on the right line into the apex,” says Neuville.
The driver can only do so much, though. Suspension settings are key to jumps, in addition to of which’s what helps the auto land flat without bouncing. Neuville’s Hyundai i20 WRC may bear some resemblance to the road-going edition, nevertheless of which’s where the similarities end. The 300bhp rally car features a host of adjustments, the main ones being stronger, oversized competition dampers in addition to a more rigid chassis which has a roll cage.
of which was engineered by Hyundai’s WRC team boss Michel Nandan, who says of which calibrating the suspension is usually a difficult balancing act: “In rally cars, what you are looking for is usually to have as much traction as possible.
nevertheless if you want a not bad landing with not bad absorption coming from a jump, the damping has to be quite efficient in addition to stiff, which will not give you not bad traction in normal driving.
“There has to be a compromise between having a not bad landing while still offering not bad traction.”
WRC regulations are quite open for suspension settings, Nandan says, nevertheless there are still some mandatory rules.
All cars must use MacPherson strut suspension with Reiger shock absorbers, for example, as well as conventional dampers with no active system in addition to no special bushes of which could create less friction.
After the auto has been homologated, the main dimensions of the dampers cannot change, nevertheless lots of some other things can be altered throughout the course of the season in addition to even during rallies, such as the lengths of struts in addition to the damper settings.
“You actually need a lot of damping force, nevertheless you have to make sure the auto doesn’t bounce when of which lands,” Nandan says. “The work we do is usually on the damper settings, the spring rates, in addition to the balance from the springs front to rear. We are trying to get as much travel as we can.
“We have to see how far we can go to be soft with the damping in addition to springs in addition to still have not bad absorption on landing.”
Obviously, there’s a lot of risk attached to each jump, in addition to when things head south the driver is usually helpless.
“Testing in Finland last year, I had my biggest crash ever,” Neuville says. “of which was a huge jump in addition to when I landed I was already out of line. I couldn’t do anything, just wait.”
The view coming from the co-driver’s seat
Neuville’s co-drover, Nicolas Gilsoul, has been working with the Belgian since 2011 in addition to has special marks in his pace notes to identify the jumps.
“from the relationship between a driver in addition to a co-driver, confidence is usually very important. He has to trust in what I tell him, in addition to I have to trust in his driving.
“For jumps, the driver knows exactly where they are on the stage; I just have to read the pacenote at the right time at the right rhythm.
“My notes give simple directions like a distance, which side of the road you must be, how long the corner is usually, what speed you should be at, in addition to what the jump is usually like. I use four lines of pace notes on a page, in addition to of which covers around 1km of the stage.
“of which’s important for me to tighten the seat belt before the jump, because of which can be painful on the landing. Sometimes you don’t land flat so you are thrown around in your seat in addition to of which can be actually painful for your neck. There’s a danger of which you might miss a pace note if you don’t prepare yourself for the jump.
“Each jump is usually different in addition to sometimes you have to find some special tips yourself.
“For example, there is usually a jump in Sardinia where we have to follow the mountains of which are 200km away coming from us to help land the jump properly. When we’re airborne we can only see the sky, so we have to just follow the mountains to find the right line.”
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