How to win the Dakar Rally, according to Toyota’s Nasser Al-Attiyah Car News

This older car’s double-wishbone suspension is controlled by twin shocks, unlike its successor, which has larger single shocks at each corner. The dual shocks were found to be too long during overnight suspension rebuilds in the bivouac, and the singles are lighter and less prone to overheating.

It’s the wheels that mark the biggest change, though. The new T1+ class for 2022 has increased the maximum permitted diameter from 32 to 37 inches.

Al-Attiyah doesn’t talk much during our drive – the hum of the engine and the whine of the straight-cut cogs in the sequential six-speed gearbox are too loud for that – but later he tells me that the upgrade was transformative. More suspension travel has resulted in a calmer, more neutral and faster car whose driver is better able to manipulate handling and cornering attitude. Plus, less tire overheating means fewer breakdowns – Toyota’s traditional nemesis in the empty quarter.

Dunes are like driving on ice, according to Al-Attiyah, who recommends lots of acceleration and “dropping” the car, which means not fighting it. Saudi Arabia is also a much more dangerous environment than it seems. Going wrong on high dunes can be like driving off a cliff.

The tires also played a central role in Al-Attiyah’s absurd display at the hairpin. Braking late and almost immediately flipping the car into a slide allows the taller sidewalls to buckle a bit and sink into the bumpy terrain, helping to lose speed. This part of the cornering process – i.e. the use of the physical brakes and the initial rotation of the car – is only fleeting, because once the car has slowed down adequately, Al-Attiyah is almost immediately back in the throttle, pre-apex, waiting for when it feels ready to spin properly. At this point, he might just give the long handbrake lever a jerky jerk if he feels the foreheads are threatening to wash out widely. All things being good, it will then come out of the corner with just a hint of oversteer.

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This notice was published: 2022-04-17 05:01:24

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