|PHOTO CREDIT: FIA World Rallycross|
Tight turns and a big jump are the main technical challenges of the Mettet rallycross track, which Team Peugeot Total is preparing for this weekend.
Mettet in Belgium is a track like no other! It's got some tight and technical turns as well as an extremely fast section at the end of the lap – not to mention a massive jump.
“To be completely accurate, it’s not really a jump: it’s a drop,” explains Nicolas Gueranger, a design engineer in Peugeot’s World RX programme. “The road falls away from the car and this actually makes a big difference to how we adjust the suspension. This is because there is no compression to load the suspension as the car takes off: instead it just falls. So we have to make sure that the car can cope with this big impact when it hits the road again. We do this by adjusting the stroke of the damper: in other words, the distance that the wheels can travel to absorb impacts.”
The longer the suspension travel, the bigger the impact that car can absorb. As the cars land they also have to immediately brake and turn in for the following corner, which comes up in a heartbeat. The drivers have 3 things to instantly think about – landing, braking and turning – while the car has 3 sets of different forces acting on it, all at the same time.
“This is definitely one of the trickiest places of the year,” explains team manager Kenneth Hansen. “But the whole Mettet circuit is really challenging: especially the fast section at the end.” Kevin Hansen knows only too well how tricky this place can be: last year he got slightly off line in the fast section; the rear of the car slid wide and pitched him into a roll. “That’s a perfect example of what Mettet can do; just a small mistake can have really serious consequences,” adds Kenneth Hansen.
To provide a perfect drive out of all the slow and technical corners, the engine settings of the Peugeot 208 WRX are adjusted to deliver as much of the power as early as possible. “You need a linear and progressive power delivery; nothing sudden,” continues Nicolas Gueranger. “So we adjust the throttle settings for a circuit like this one, to give the drivers the best possible immediate response out of the corners.”