Red Bull at the 2013 Dakar Rally

Red Bull at the 2013 Dakar Rally

Red Bull-sponsored teams have claimed victory in the truck and bike categories during this year’s Dakar Rally.

Cyril Despres battled his way through the early stages of the 2013 event, in which buggy, bike, quad and lorry drivers took on 8500km of harsh terrain in South America, and managed to claim his fifth Dakar victory.

Riding a KTM, the Frenchman gained his second consecutive win in the rally, despite suffering a penalty after he was forced to change engines halfway through the race.

“Of course every win at the Dakar is special but this one stands out for me because it is the first time I have been able to defend my title. Winning the Dakar two years in a row is rare and nobody has done it since Fabrizio Meoni 10 years ago,” he said of the win.

rally  Red Bull at the 2013 Dakar Rally

Team Kamaz’s Eduard Nikolaev saw similar success in Dakar 2013, fending off all competition to win the truck category by more than 37 minutes. His victory was doubly special, as he is the first truck driver in the race’s history to win the competition without taking first place in any individual stages.

The Russian, whose career began as a mechanic, was joined by teammates Ayrat Mardeev in second place and Andrey Karginov in third.

Commenting on the win, Nikolaev claimed the full weight of the extraordinary feat has yet to sink in.

“All I have been concentrated on since we arrived in South America was fighting minute by minute over every kilometre I drove in our truck. To come out of that after such an intense fifteen days with the victory is something that I simply can’t put into words. It’s simply incredible and I’m on cloud nine right now,” he said.

South Africa’s Giniel de Villiers also managed an impressive performance, gaining second place in the buggy fixtures and finishing 43 minutes behind defending champion Stephane Peterhansel in his Toyota Hilux.

Unfortunately, a valiant effort in this year’s Dakar Rally proved fruitless for the Qatar Red Bull Rally Team, who were forced to bow out of the competition early.

rally  Red Bull at the 2013 Dakar Rally

The early stages saw the buggy team gain and hold a triumphant lead over their competitors. Red Bull driver Carlos Sainz wasted no time in making his mark on this year’s rally, hitting the fastest time on the 13km opening stage in Pisco and overcoming navigational issues to beat the pack and claim victory on day two. However, teammate Nasser Al-Attiyah – winner of the 2011 rally – was not content to let Sainz have all the glory – securing his two consecutive stage wins on days three and four.

Technical troubles plagued the team throughout Dakar 2013, forcing two-time World Rally Championship winner Sainz to drop out on day six. He was shortly followed by teammate Al-Attiyah, who bowed out of the competition on day nine due to a broken water pump.

However, the duo were not cowed by the experience and vowed to return for the 2014 event with their sights set on victory.

“Despite having such a short period of time to prepare we still managed to win five of the eight stages we completed. What we achieved at the 2013 Dakar with the Qatar Red Bull Rally Team was really remarkable and I’m so proud to have been a part of it,” Al-Attiyah said.

Motor Sport Magazine – The original motor racing magazine

Source: Motor Sport Mag

Sauber: Rear Inboard Pull Rod Suspension


With the shift toward pull rod rear suspension, the teams’ mechanics are faced with a maintenance issue.  As the pull rod reaches down into the gearbox casing, access to the transmission is hindered by the inboard suspension inside the gear casing.  Most teams maintain their transmission by first having to remove parts of the inboard suspension.  However the Ferrari engined teams have each found a neater solution to this problem.  Sauber use the Ferrari gearbox and also follow a similar practice of using a separate module to mount the entire inboard suspension in between the engine and gearbox.


Pull rod suspension runs the pull rod from the outer end of the top wishbone down the bottom corner of the chassis.  For the rear suspension, the inner end of the pull rod set up is on the gearbox casing.  This mounts the inboard elements of the system low down on the gearbox, either inside entirely contained within the casing (which is more aerodynamic), or splits the elements inside and outside of the gearcase.  Both however will have heave and anti roll elements passing from one side of the gearbox to the other.  These parts sit ahead of the transmission inside the gear casing and will hinder access to it.

The inboard suspension is made up of: torsion bar springs, side dampers, anti roll bar and heave elements.  While the transmission consists of: gear cluster, clutch and hydraulics.  Although teams do not normally need to maintain the transmission or inboard suspension over the course of a race weekend, the transmission is regularly inspected in between sessions and this require access through the front of the gear casing.  With the inboard suspension in the way, most teams simply unbolt the heave elements, anti roll bar and if required the side dampers.  This is complex and takes time, which the teams can do without.

Toro Rosso Gearcase

Toro Rosso Gearcase removed from the car – via

For the Ferrari engined teams (Ferrari, Sauber and Toro Rosso) the inboard suspension is mounted in a separate assembly.  Although Toro Rosso do not use the Ferrari gearbox, they were in fact the innovators in this area.  Toro Rosso shifted towards pull rod suspension before Ferrari and have evolved a split gearbox casing with the transmission inside a short metal casing. This is then bolted to a separate carbon fibre casing, which contains the inboard suspension.  Bolting to the back of the engine, this suspension case is akin to a separate bell housing.  When the team need access to the transmission, they unbolt the front legs of the wishbones and pull rods, then split the metal gear casing from the carbon suspension case. This allows the gearbox and outer rear suspension to be wheeled away, with the carbon suspension case remaining undisturbed and still bolted to the back of the engine.  To keep the unbolted wishbone legs and pull rods supported, the team fit temporary mounts to the metal gearcase.


This split case design will have an inherent stiffnessweight penalty, although teams are able to simulate the assemblies stiffness against known load cases, so the Toro Rosso split case design does not imply that is any less stiff.  With the weight distribution now fixed and more rearwards biased than in previous times, any weight penalty to recover stiffness is not a problem.  No doubt making the suspension case a carbon fibre part helps with lowering the total weight of the design.  One further benefit is the suspension case and the inboard suspension are all made by the team itself, unlike a cast gearbox case, which has to be outsourced to an outside supplier. This means any changes to the suspension case or inboard suspension can be competed quickly and reliably by the team.  With suspension being a primary factor in tyre management, this equates to a strategic advantage for the team.

Ferrari gearcase

Ferrari shifted to Rear Pull Rod suspension for 2012, this necessitated a new gearbox casing.  No doubt the Toro Rosso solution inspired Ferrari approach to their powertrain design.  They were perhaps also mindful of the stiffnessweight challenge of split case, so their design is a progression from Toro Rosso’s.  With the access benefits of a separate inboard suspension module, but not by employing a split case.


The Ferrari gearbox case is made from carbon fibre and as is conventional, it is a single structure from the rear of the engine back to the differential.  This makes the structure as efficient as possible from a stiffness perspective.  But if otherwise conventional, this would present the same access issues.  So Ferrari have cutaway a small section at the bottom front of the casing (yellow).  This allows the pullrod to reach the inboard suspension, but rather than the springs and dampers being mounted to a bellhousing-like separate case, or mounted directly inside the case, Ferrari have mounted everything on a separate plate.



The other design difference to the Toro Rosso is that the wishbones remain bolted to the gearcase and do not have to be disturbed, which makes splitting the gearcase from the suspension module even easier.

Sauber Suspension module


I have been lucky enough to have a photo of the Sauber Suspension module sent to me, by a ScarbsF1 fan at the 2012 Airtel Indian GP.  In this image we can see the machined metal module, which mounts the entire inboard suspension.  This assembly bolts to the back of the engine, with the clutch passing through the opening in the middle of the module.  As with the Toro Rosso solution the gearbox can be removed, by unbolting the pull rod ends and the gearcase from the engine.  This leaves the suspension still bolted to the engine and the outer rear suspension attached to the gearcase.    The potential for the enginegearcase interface to lose is possible as the apparently unbridged gap at the lower front of the case appears to be left open.  But the gearcase bolts through the suspension module and into the back of the engine, restoring stiffness to the unbridged section.  As with the Toro Rosso split case solution, this makes revisions to the inboard suspension easier.  However for Ferrari the suspension module is far simpler than Toro Rosso’s casing, so FerrariSauber would find altering their suspension module even easier.


As Sauber use the entire Ferrari powertrain (EngineGearboxKERS), they also employ the unique Ferrari gearcase shape.  Although they do not necessarily employ exactly the same layout on the suspension module, as each team is responsible for their own suspension design.


Unfortunately the Sauber suspension module photo does not include the dampers, so we will have to speculate on the position and purposes for each bell crank on the rockers.  Each Rocker (grey) is operated by the pullrod, which pulls on the lowest of the bell cranks emerging from the rocker.   Inside the rockers are the torsion bars (yellow) which are mounted in a near vertical position and act as the side springs for each wheel.  There appears to be three other bell cranks mounted to the rocker.  I’d suggest the lower pair are used for the Heave spring (blue), while the middle pair operate the Anti roll Bar (ARB) by a set of connecting links.  Barely visible behind the anti roll bar, are the last pair of bell cranks, which probably operate the side dampers (red) with their inner ends mount to the structure supporting the ARB.  In the Sauber set up, there does not appear to be a separate roll damper or interlinked heave element.  I know that many teams do run separate roll dampers, Ferrari had one included as part of their 2011 rear suspension.  While the front and rear suspensions could still be linked, if the heave element was a hydraulic device, as well as a sprung device.

With these set ups, all three teams appear to have found a small operational advantage and perhaps even a strategic benefit as they can alter the inboard suspension layout with resorting to a completely new gearcase.  It’s strange it’s solely the Ferrari engine teams that have found this solution, no other gearcase I have seen powered by another engine manufacturer have seen this as a solution, despite some teams having run rear pull rod suspension since 2009.  Perhaps we will see some different solutions from the other teams in 2013?


Source: Scarbs F1

Readers’ event with Jody Scheckter

Readers’ event with Jody Scheckter

On Saturday May 18, 2013, Jody Scheckter will host a sumptuous banquet, while offering a rare opportunity to hear him speak about his incredible racing career and view his own collection of the cars he drove – as seen in the February issue of Motor Sport.

The evening, held in association with Motor Sport, will take place in the new state-of-the-art Saracens Rugby Stadium. The multi-course feast will be sourced from Jody’s award-winning Laverstoke Park organic farm. Tickets are offered at a discounted rate for subscribers.

reader offers events  Readers event with Jody Scheckter

The Menu:

A selection of Laverstoke Park Farm canapés: “We’ll be offering a selection of biltong,” says Jody. “We make the biltong I always dreamed about – and it does not contain preservatives or colourings. It is cured overnight and then slowly dried, giving its unique flavour. Early South African settlers used these methods to preserve their meats naturally.”

Buffalo mozzarella with fresh tomato and basil: Served with a selection of our home-grown baby salad leaves and vegetable crudités. “The equipment that makes our mozzarella comes from Modena near the Ferrari factory. Michelin star chef Angela Hartnett rated our mozzarella “10 out of 10” saying it was “fresher and creamier than the finest Italian”. It’s so good I took some to Ferrari a couple of years ago and they loved it. My dream is to export my mozzarella to Italy…”

Award winning pan-fried buffalo fillet: “Buffalo meat is lower in fat and cholesterol than beef. It beats normal fillet for taste and our dry-aged buffalo fillet was awarded ‘The Best Speciality’ food in England, on top of the highest award of three gold stars at the Great Taste Awards. We have our own herd of more than 2000 water buffalo.”

reader offers events  Readers event with Jody Scheckter

To book your tickets call +44 (0)207 349 8472. For group bookings please contact us. Tickets are priced at £250 for subscribers or £295 for non-subscribers.

For more information email our events team.

Motor Sport Magazine – The original motor racing magazine

Source: Motor Sport Mag