Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FASHION

Paris, Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2014-2015.

Read more

REPORTERS

Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

2014-07-11 21:47 AFRICA NEWS

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Finally, a good use for new app "Yo"

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 11 July 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 11 July 2014

Read more

#THE 51%

Sweden: A Feminist's Paradise?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Politics: parties under pressure

Read more

FOCUS

In Burma, the rise of radical Buddhism

Read more

  • UN Security Council calls for Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire

    Read more

  • The third-place playoff: the World Cup game no one wants to play

    Read more

  • Afghan presidential candidates agree to full vote audit, Kerry says

    Read more

  • France’s Kadri wins eighth stage at Tour de France

    Read more

  • Legal challenge to French mayor’s ban of Muslim hijab on beach

    Read more

  • Last of the Ramones, Tommy Ramone, dies aged 62

    Read more

  • Video: Outrage in wake of deadly Casablanca buildings collapse

    Read more

  • Iraqi forces ‘executed prisoners in reprisal’ for ISIS killings

    Read more

  • Ukraine promises retaliation after rebel assault

    Read more

  • Putin revives old Cuban flame and eyes Latin American minerals

    Read more

  • Amazon snubs French free delivery ban with one-cent charge

    Read more

  • Cleveland's NBA fans hail 'return of king' LeBron James

    Read more

  • Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

    Read more

  • Magnitude 6.8 quake, small tsunami hit east Japan

    Read more

  • Suspect in Brussels Jewish Museum shooting drops extradition appeal

    Read more

Dakar Rally prepares to take on altitude

©

Text by Emmanuel VERSACE , Thibault LIEURADE

Latest update : 2009-01-02

By changing continent, pilots and their machinery have to adapt to high altitude, a new criteria in this South American edition. The Andes are going to be the real test.

By swapping continents, rally drivers this year will need to change their habits and adapt to South American specialties. On the menu, among other challenges: altitude in the South American Andean mountain range.

“They went through an intensive week in the Jura (in eastern France), where they spent their nights in atmospheric chambers enabling them to get used to the lack of oxygen,” says Dominique Serieys, team director for Repsol-Mitsubishi, of the specific training his racing drivers - among them Stéphane Peterhansel (2007 winner) and Luc Alphand (2007 runner-up) - have received so far.

Lower-performing motors

After the rocky trails, the dunes and the Argentine “rios”, competitors will have the Andean mountain chain in full view by the sixth stage. The course for the seventh, between Mendoza in Argentina and Valparaiso in Chile, includes passages at more than 3,000 metres of altitude. This will not only discomfort the drivers, it will also affect the cars.

Within altitude preparation for the new model, the Racing Lancer, has been successful. “We were able to test our motors at altitude in Morocco and in Granada to measure the differences in oxygen and they reacted well,” explains Serieys, the 1993 winner standing beside Bruno Saby.

Another possible challenge: the temperature and its impact on motors. “Over there it’s the austral summer. It can be 32°C in Buenos Aires and then 40°C et 45°C in the desert. The thin air and high temperatures will automatically reduce the performance of the motors,” adds Serieys.

The “pros”


Franck Helbert, director of Team HFP-Yamaha, had two drivers among the first ten in 2007. He talks about the South American course in comparison to the African one. “There is not a huge difference in the preparation of the pilots. The course is virtually identical to the ones we are used to competing on,” he says.

Helbert acknowledges that there will be “differences in temperature and particularly altitude – the great unknown of the course,” but he reminds readers that “these are just temporary passages in altitude.”

The course will be long both before and after the Andes. But Helbert has plenty of confidence in his men. “It’s true that they can always have respiratory problems. But our team’s pilots are pretty much all professionals. ”

Rendez-vous on January 9, the day of the seventh stage, to see the pros in action in the Andean “Cordillera”. It will surely be one of the more exotic scenes from this 'vintage' 2009.

Date created : 2008-12-29

Comments

COMMENT(S)