TOYOTA GAZOO RACING SPORTING DIRECTOR KAJ LINDSTRÖM OUTLINES THE CHALLENGE OF PREPARING FOR A NEW ROUND OF THE WRC. IT’S GOING TO BE A BUSY WEEK…
How complicated is it to get ready for a new round, Kaj?
It is always quite complicated when we have a rally new to the calendar – we saw that when we went to Turkey last year. But Turkey was a ‘European’ round, whereas Chile is a long haul and it’s linked with Argentina. This makes it quite a lot more complicated.
When did you start working on preparations for Chile?
We started as soon as the calendar came out last year, we started looking at different areas and how we could approach these rallies.
What are some of the biggest complications?
Trying to predict what we would need and when we will need it. Obviously we had most of our kit sent to South America in sea freight containers, but some additional parts – and the rally cars – were sent by air freight for Rally Argentina. You have to try to second-guess which parts will be used on the first rally, how many you will need for the rebuild and then how many do you need for Chile. Trying to make sure you have enough of everything across the two rallies is not an easy process – it’s the first time we have done anything like this. It’s really a new challenge.
Tell us about your week between the two rallies…
We broke the main part of the service park down as usual on Sunday night – that has to be on the truck and away on Tuesday. We kept some of the smaller easy-up tents and use them to re-prepare the cars after Argentina. The guys worked from Sunday night and into Monday to get the cars ready to be packed up and onto the transporter on Tuesday.
So the cars left on Tuesday?
No, they left early on Wednesday morning and should arrive in Concepcion on late Saturday morning, but maybe on Friday afternoon. Then we have to build the service park in Chile so we can then finish any work we need to do on the cars there.
Presumably, you had more spares standing-by back at base in Europe?
We did. For example, we had two spare shells on stand-by. We then had some air freight slots ready to go. The time difference also made it quite tricky though, Tallinn (Estonia, the preparation base for TGR) is six hours ahead of here, so sometimes if we needed something it was complicated because it was the middle of the night there.
Has it been a challenge you’ve enjoyed?
It’s good because it makes us all really think. It’s a little bit easier to just go with the same rallies every year, but this doesn’t really stretch the team or force us to think about the best solutions. Linking these two long haul rallies has definitely made us think. Have I enjoyed it? Ask me again after Chile!