The FIA WRC Academy crews continued their extensive training in Germany this week with a session from renowned shock absorber manufacturers, Reiger Suspension. Explaining the mechanics of a damper and how changing the set-up can improve the handling of their Ford Fiesta R2s, the crews will be further prepared going into the first sealed-surface event of the season.
Established in 1977, Reiger has been working closely with M-Sport for 16 years and supplies state-of-the-art competition dampers to a range of motorsports including the FIA World Rally Championship, the World Motocross Championship and the Dakar Rally – with the first 12 finishers using Reiger dampers on this year’s edition of Dakar’s endurance event.
Sharing their knowledge of damper set-up and mechanics, representatives from Reiger gave the WRC Academy crews a better understanding of the car’s suspension and how and why adjusting the damper ‘clicks’ can improve the performance of the car – vital knowledge for those aiming to be at the top of their field in the near future.
Ashley Haigh-Smith said:
“The training was really useful and the guys from Reiger shared a great amount of knowledge. It was really useful to get an explanation on the optimum set-ups for toe, camber and caster because you always get a bit confused there! For us guys with not so much experience yet, it is good to know how to best set-up our cars for the stages.
“I hope I can put all that I learnt into practice on my next rally. When I go back to South Africa, I’ll certainly be playing around to see what sort of a difference I can make to my car. In the past, I would do a test and adapt my driving style to the car, but now we can look to adapt the car to my own driving style and maybe find a better rhythm.”
Gerard Seesing, Reiger Suspension, said:
“The crews were all very interested and enthusiastic about what he had to tell them – we could see their eyes getting bigger and bigger as they got a better understanding.
“It is very important for the very best drivers to know the mechanics of their cars and how the dampers work – if it is just a hobby, then maybe it is not to important, but for the top guys it is vital for the future.
“The crews need to have a good base knowledge of how the systems work so that if they have any sort of a problem, they can tell their engineers exactly what is going on. They can feel it in the steering, and they automatically know what the problem is.”
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