The driver and co-driver are busy throughout their time in the service area.
Craig Drew: “David and I first speak to Jonathan [Carey] so he can acquire all the data he needs before assessing the telemetry.
“Then I speak to our lead technician, Shaun Jacobs, who then issues any further instructions to the rest of our service team. I always put the service card under the right-side windshield wiper and tell Shaun it is there, and he then sorts it all out!
“David and I then grab a quick bite to eat. Then while he usually talks to Jonathan in more detail, I walk around the service park to locate the next time control and check the stage times of the other competitors so we know where we stand.
“Finally, along with Clint, I then keep the technicians and David updated with how long we have remaining in service.”
Meanwhile, the team manager has a long list of duties. Clint Fast: “I usually speak to the driver to get his feedback on how the last group of stages went – how he feels about the car, what he wants to do with tires – and find out if there are any issues I need to work on after they go back out.
“I then speak to the co-driver to make sure they get out of service on time.
“Refuel is the last thing that happens at service, and I always walk down and take part in that.”
Among Fast’s other responsibilities are:
- Confirming service out time with the co-driver and updating the engineer and technicians about it
- Receiving the engineer’s update on car status and discussing tires and any open issues
- Advising technicians of service time remaining
- Setting out tires to be fitted for the next leg
- Advising senior team management of any issues
- Confirming five minutes time remaining with the co-driver and making sure both driver and co-driver are ready to leave
- Preparing the refuel team for refuel following service
- Ensuring the car gets out on time (usually two minutes remaining on service clock)
- Walking to refuel with the refuel team, updating fuel load quantity, and performing refuel with the team
Meanwhile, the team engineer ensures everything is functioning properly in the car. According to Jonathan Carey: “In a normal service, it is the first eight minutes that are the most intense for me. In this time, my role is to debrief the drivers and decide any adjustments to our job list according to what they report.
“I then work with the number-one technicians to action the work. This can be specifics like adjusting car’s handling or reporting any incidents during the stages.
“Still within the eight minutes, I inspect the on-board data that has been recording through the previous group of stages. I check to make sure that the car is working correctly and action repairs or adjustments with the number-one technician if anything looks suspicious and incorrect.
“Once debriefing and data analysis are completed, I either move on to the next car and do it all again or I oversee the service and make sure everything is okay.
“If there are specific changes to the vehicle electronics, engine programming, or changes to the settings of the electronic center differential, then I will initiate these changes during the service and check the car to ensure the changes are okay.”
After the car leaves service, the service crew prepares for the next one.
“I have technical responsibility for all aspects of the car during design, car build, and operation during an event. I create car-build specifications covering all details from the type of transmission to be used through to the size of the steering wheel.
“Prior to each event, I research the conditions and type of road surfaces, and then distribute chassis set-ups for both drivers. These cover details like suspension stiffness, wheel alignment, and differential settings for our AWD driveline. It is my goal to optimize all for the conditions.
“We use knowledge gained from previous events and testing to pre-determine our service job list, which will then get updated according to specific events at the time.”