Conrad Rautenbach Shakedown review

24.04.2008: Conrad Rautenbach Shakedown review

Jordan Rally FIA World Rally Championship, round 5/15

Dead Sea, Jordan 24.04.08


Weather: Sunny

Temperature range: 22-38 Celsius

Time difference: Jordan is GMT +2hours

Shakedown report:

The shakedown stage was located just north of the Dead Sea service park. At 2.5 kilometres, it wasn't completely representative of the Jordan Rally challenge to come, but it did offer Conrad Rautenbach and his British co-driver David Senior the opportunity to fine-tune the set-up of the Citroen C4 WRC they will compete in for the next three days. The team worked on getting the C4's handling precise and consistent for Rautenbach, who hasn't sat in the Citroen since finishing fourth overall on Rally Argentina last month.

Unlike the World Rally Championship's last outing, the likelihood of rain on this event is remote – of more concern in Jordan is keeping the competing cars cool. Without long liaison sections between the stages (Jordan Rally is one of the most compact routes on the calendar) there won't be too much time to get air into the engine bay

– ensuring Rautenbach will keep a wary eye on the temperature readings. This will be Rautenbach's third event in the Citroen C4 WRC and his sixth WRC event in a World Rally Car.

Conrad Rautenbach quote:

"I know it's only three weeks since Argentina, but it feels like I haven't been in this car for years! It was fantastic to get back in this morning and have a go again. The good thing about this rally is that we'll have consistent conditions, which is just what I want to help me learn more about the car.

Having said that, the difference in grip levels between the fast and slow corners is marked. In the fast corners, the road surface is almost like asphalt – and you're taking more of a racing line, keeping the car really neat and tidy to carry the speed through the bend. But in the slower stuff, there's more gravel around and you're back to sliding the car around a little bit.

"There's no doubt this is going to be a tough event. Trying to read the road is incredibly difficult at times. There's nothing to give you any definition anywhere; not many trees around at all. On some of the long straights you're almost struggling to pick the road out, because there's such a sandy haze across the road.

The temperatures are pretty hot here, which is tough, but once we get going we get quite a lot of air coming in through the scoop on the roof, which makes it a bit more pleasant. The faster you go, the more air comes into the car and the cooler you feel – that's a real incentive to keep off the brakes!

"The recce went really well for us. Being quite a compact route, we were able to get the day done quite early. One thing the recce showed was how tough that final day is going to be – particularly the Jordan River stage.

At 41.45km, this is real long one – and we do it twice on Sunday. It was quite slippery in there, with a fair bit of loose gravel; until that second run at the stage is done nothing can be taken for granted."


- CR Press -


24.04.2008 / MaP

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