Tuesday 11 March 2014

Rally - High altitude

We all know that engines are affected by weather and altitude and with stages which were all held on roads that are at least 1,800 metres above sea level, peaking at close to 2,800 metres, Mexico was bound to pose problems.

Commenting on the challenge which faced all teams, and not just Citroen, Didier Clément, Chief Operations Engineer for the Citroen DS3 WRC team explained: “We had to adapt the engine to this environment. The engine mapping was adjusted to reduce the loss of horsepower. If we didn‘t do this specific work, we’d lose around 10% of maximum power output with every 1,000 metres of altitude.”

Two types of testing were required to prepare for this rally: bench tests for the engine and driving at a base in the mountains: “It is difficult to replicate the conditions we had in Mexico here in Europe. In the south of Spain, we are able to test at altitude, but not with the same heat or the same constraints. But the experience we have acquired in recent years helps us to prepare effectively for the rally.”

“The idea is to lose as little power as possible but also reduce the response times during acceleration. An engine needs air, a lot of fresh air, in order to operate really effectively. In Mexico, there is less air and it’s hot, so we need a really efficient mapping!” 

Mind you, Citroen has a lot of experience in Mexico. Between 2006 and 2012, Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena enjoyed an unbeaten run of victories in their Xsara (2006), C4 (2007 to 2010) and DS3 (2011 and 2012).

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