Dakar Rally 2015: The real Odyssey before - or how to be at the Start in time. | 29.08.2014

Defender Challenge: Rd 5 of the series by Bowler takes place this weekend. | 29.08.2014

Rally dos Sertões: Honda HRC riders finished first part of the marathon stage. | 29.08.2014

Rally dos Sertões: Top 10 cars mixed after hardest stage - Spinelli still leader. | 28.08.2014

Rally dos Sertões PHOTOS: Impressions from the Marathonrally in Brazil (77). | 28.08.2014

Rally dos Sertões: Two X-Rally NWM Ford Ranger in good 2nd and 4th position. | 28.08.2014

Baja Poland: Poland to welcome 112 competitors in Baja Poland this weekend. | 28.08.2014

Welcome to the marathonrally.com newssection. Here you can find the article you selected. For a full selection of news please click on "NEWS & LIVEREPORTS", for older articles use the search function in top of the right navigation.

Dakar Rally 2014: Interview with Neil Woolridge, team manager Ford Racing.

What a difference a day makes. Yesterday was 42 C degrees and the heat was over-powering. Today the mercury climbed to only 19 C degrees, the rain was torrential and thunder and lightning echoed around the Salta bivouac. It was the rest day at the Dakar Rally. Six days of competition completed in Argentina and seven more remaining, one in Argentina and six in Chile.

But nobody really rests at Dakar and Team Ford Racing´s mechanics braved the elements to give Lucio Alvarez and Ronnie Graue´s Ranger a thorough overhaul. We spoke with Neil Woolridge, team manager of Neil Woolridge Motorsport / Ford Racing, to learn what work was carried out and to reflect on the opening week of the world´s toughest motorsport event.

MR: Neil, can you outline what work has been done on the car today and why?

Woolridge: "Every single nut, bolt, component and part on the car has a kilometer life and many of those limits have been reached so we replaced those parts. With only one car still running, we have been more cautious and changed even more. It was our plan to change a large majority of the working parts - the gearbox, clutch, driveshafts and all the parts that have worked hard. We´re not allowed to change the engine, and we don´t need to, but the drivetrain parts needed replacing."

MR: Are you free to change anything on the car apart from the engine?

Woolridge: "We can change everything with the exception of the engine block. That must remain the same. We can open the engine and overhaul it if we want. The engine is sealed in our case because it is standard and we would require authorisation from the organisers to open it, but it´s in the rules to do that if necessary."

MR: So at the restart tomorrow it will be like a new car?

Woolridge: "Exactly. There is always a concern that the guys working on the car are tired, and everything must be replaced exactly the way it was in the workshop in South Africa. But they´re professionals and they know what to do."

MR: It sounds a labour-intensive job. How much work was involved?

Woolridge: "It´s straight forward work. It is part off, part on. It´s time consuming but not complicated."

MR: What are your impressions after the first six days?

Woolridge: "I was bitterly disappointed with the first three days. Chris (Visser) and Japie (Badenhorst) crashing was a huge blow to everyone, especially to them."

"The next biggest thing was the first day problems which put the whole team on the back foot. The opening day was supposed to allow us to ease our way into the event with a short stage, but we ended up working until 2 am recovering and repairing the vehicles and everyone was under immense pressure. During the last three days we saw the way the car should perform and I think it can be even better. I´m very happy with the performance. I´ve seen room for improvement but everything we´re doing is working properly now."

MR: Is it fair to say that you can test as much as you like, but it´s only in the heat of competition you find what works well and what could have been done differently?

Woolridge: "One hundred per cent right. We can test and test but we have to do races, and more importantly for us in South Africa, we have to do long distance desert-type races in severe heat, in dunes and along dry river beds. A day´s testing is good but not enough. It comes down to budget but if we are to go forward with the Ranger project, we must do more races."

MR: How much of a blow was it to lose the MAN 4x4 T4 race truck a couple days ago in terms of offering support in the stages should Lucio need it?

Woolridge: "The truck had to retire when a low-cost pressure pipe from the diesel pump to the injector broke. That was a serious blow because the T4 truck along with the crew, the entry and fuel was expensive. The main role of the race truck is to provide fast assistance on the Dakar route, as it follows the same path as the race cars. It carries essential spares and one of our mechanics so if Lucio and Ronnie experienced any problems on the stage they could make the repairs and get them going again. It was Lucio´s safety net and now it has gone. "

MR: Is it possible to place parts that would have been carried on that vehicle in another team´s truck?

Woolridge: "Definitely. More than half the cars have retired and other teams using T4 trucks may only have one car running like us, so hopefully they will have space. The Road to Recovery team has offered to help so it´s not the end of the world, but it´s not ideal. You always want your own truck with your own people doing what you want."

2014/01/12 | 18:19 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/CHAANE

Dakar Rally 2014: Nani Roma und Michel Périn win the legendary desert rally. | 20.01.2014 20:07 |

Dakar Rally 2014: Xavier Foj and Toyota achieves third place in T2 cars class. | 20.01.2014 19:56 |

Dakar Rally 2014: Honda Team HRC satisfied with 2014, begins work for 2015. | 20.01.2014 19:46 |

Dakar Rally 2014: GWM/Haval achieves another Top 10 position in Dakar 2014. | 20.01.2014 19:38 |

Dakar Rally 2014: Solid finish for Lucio Alvarez and new Ford Racing team. | 20.01.2014 19:32 |

Dakar Rally 2014: De Villiers and Dabrowski as 4th and 7th best Toyotas. | 19.01.2014 21:46 |

Dakar Rally 2014: 2013 winner Cyril Despres finishing fourth after tough race. | 19.01.2014 21:23 |

Dakar Rally 2014: Ronan Chabot and Gilles Pillot in fast finish in the Dakar. | 19.01.2014 21:14 |

Dakar Rally 2014: Team El Martillo Racing finished in their first Dakar Rally. | 19.01.2014 20:15 |

Dakar Rally 2014: Riwald Dakar Team crosses the finish line in Valparaiso. | 19.01.2014 20:01 |

Dakar Rally 2014 RESULTS: TRUCKS daily and overall after SS12 on Friday | 18.01.2014 00:45 |

Dakar Rally 2014 RESULTS: CARS daily and overall after SS12 on Friday | 18.01.2014 00:43 |

Dakar Rally 2014 RESULTS: BIKES daily and overall after SS12 on Friday | 18.01.2014 00:42 |

Dakar Rally 2014: Orlando Terranova celebrates his first stage win in SS11. | 17.01.2014 02:51 |

Dakar Rally 2014: Strong show from Argentine Alvarez in arid Atacama in SS11. | 17.01.2014 02:21 |

Dakar Rally 2014: Team HRC riders overcome long stage and maintain posis. | 17.01.2014 01:54 |

Dakar Rally 2014: Third stage victory for overall bikes leader Marc Coma. | 17.01.2014 01:47 |

Dakar Rally 2014: No surprises for Speedbrain team in Atacama stage 11. | 17.01.2014 01:41 |

Dakar Rally 2014 RESULTS: TRUCKS daily and overall after SS11 on Thursday | 17.01.2014 01:36 |

Dakar Rally 2014 RESULTS: CARS daily and overall after SS11 on Thursday | 17.01.2014 00:31 |

Dakar Rally 2014 RESULTS: BIKES daily and overall after SS11 on Thursday | 16.01.2014 23:25 |

Dakar Rally 2014: The tenth stage brought gold - Stagewin for Czech Loprais. | 16.01.2014 22:48 |

Dakar Rally 2014: Team Dessoude with the last two cars reached the finish SS10. | 16.01.2014 22:46 |

Dakar Rally 2014: Ford´s Alvarez - "We handled it well and did a good job". | 16.01.2014 22:42 |

Dakar Rally 2014: Carlos Sainz "I'm really disappointed to be out of the race". | 16.01.2014 21:17 |

Dakar Rally 2014: Robby Gordon and his HST Gordini 22nd after Stage 10. | 16.01.2014 20:32 |

Dakar Rally 2014: Great Wall Haval and Lavieille moves up after Stage 10. | 16.01.2014 20:27 |

Dakar Rally 2014: Iveco-pilot Gerard de Rooy still on the lead after SS10. | 16.01.2014 20:00 |

Dakar Rally 2014: Mini´s are leading 1-2-3, second stagewin for Al Attiyah. | 16.01.2014 01:55 |

Dakar Rally 2014 BLOG: Dongfeng Challenge heading forward to Antofagasta. | 16.01.2014 01:54 |

Dakar Rally 2014 RESULTS: TRUCKS daily and overall after SS10 Wednesday | 16.01.2014 00:29 |

Dakar Rally 2014: Spectacular double for Honda - Barreda still second overall. | 15.01.2014 23:40 |

Dakar Rally 2014: Bad luck for Speedbrain - Israel Esquerre out after crash. | 15.01.2014 23:37 |

Dakar Rally 2014: Coma continues to lead the Dakar after SS10 Antofagasta. | 15.01.2014 22:26 |

Dakar Rally 2014 RESULTS: CARS daily and overall after SS10 on Wednesday | 15.01.2014 21:52 |

Dakar Rally 2014 RESULTS: BIKES daily and overall after SS10 on Wednesday | 15.01.2014 21:23 |

Dakar Rally 2014 RESULTS: TRUCKS daily and overall after SS09 on Tuesday | 15.01.2014 01:16 |

Dakar Rally 2014 RESULTS: CARS daily and overall after SS09 on Tuesday | 14.01.2014 23:14 |

Dakar Rally 2014 RESULTS: BIKES daily and overall after SS09 on Tuesday | 14.01.2014 22:33 |

Dakar Rally 2014: Gerard De Rooy 2nd in SS08 with only a little loss of time. | 14.01.2014 22:31 |


















Copyright 2003 - 2014 | All rights reserved by marathonrally.com international
London | Hamburg | Saint Petersburg | Kuala Lumpur | Monte-Carlo
Major office: marathonrally.com international | Hansjoerg Schekahn
Address: Dithmern 9 | 29614 Soltau | Germany
Phone: +49 152 53 54 19 38