Fri, 27/04/2018 - 21:00
About altitude and bad weather!
There are two big challenges that will be affecting the PEUGEOT 208 WRX (along with the rest of the competitors) at this weekend’s FIA World Rallycross Championship Round 2 in Montalegre, Portugal: altitude and bad weather, which is forecast for Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 April. The track is situated high up in the mountains, and for every 100 metres you climb, an internal combustion engine loses about one per cent of its power. So, at 1000 metres, the car is operating with 10% less power than it would at sea level.

“It’s just simple physics,” explains Peugeot Sport director Bruno Famin. “The power output depends on the quantity of air coming in. At altitude, the air is less dense so there’s less of it coming into the engine.” That’s the bad news. The good news is that there’s something Peugeot’s engineers can do about it, by adjusting the turbo settings to produce more boost, as well as optimizing the engine mapping and injection timing to make the most of the power that’s there.
In any case, too much power can be a problem when the weather gets really bad, as is often the case in Montalegre. With heavy rain the ground becomes soft and (deep) ruts can form, limiting traction and grip. With the PEUGEOT 208 WRX trying to put nearly 600 horsepower onto the slippery ground, this is clearly less than ideal.
But again, there are a few things that the engineers can do to minimize the issue. “Hopefully it won't be as bad as it was two years ago, when conditions were really awful,” adds Famin.“When there’s less grip, we make the suspension softer, so the car can bite into the ground and gain better traction. And this is also another occasion when you can adjust the engine mapping, so that the power doesn’t come in as violently. That way, there’s more chance of the power actually getting onto the ground and driving the car forwards.”
That’s the theory at least – the practice only comes this weekend in Montalegre!