Seven fully laden trucks take all of the Volkswagen team's equipment – including three Polo R WRCs, spare parts and tools – to all of the European WRC rallies.
79 tonnes of sea freight and 18 tonnes of air cargo are shipped to the three overseas rallies alone.
Taking care of logistics for the Volkswagen team in the FIA World Rally Championship is a complex process which calls for painstaking organisation.
The logistics experts take a tri-modal approach during the eleven-month rallying season, sending equipment by air, land and sea...
Tight schedule, tri-modal transport
Logistics planning for the 2013 season began at the end of August 2012. The team was tasked with designing two different mobile repair workshops to spend eleven months travelling around the world simultaneously starting in January 2013
This year, seven trucks will leave the team's base in Hanover ten times to travel to the various service parks for the European WRC rallies. Lutz Meyer is responsible for logistics within the Volkswagen factory team. His team has to transport everything needed for a successful World Championship rally: from the three Polo R WRCs including spare parts to tools and a cleaning unit. Not forgetting tyre racks, as many as 140 wheel rims, structures for the service area, the team managers' office and all the equipment for the recce team headed up by three-times rallying champion Dieter Depping, which includes four Golf Rs.
A different set-up is used for the three overseas rallies in Mexico, Argentina and Australia. Back at the end of last year, Meyer booked a round trip from Bremerhaven to Léon, Villa Carlos Paz, Coffs Harbour and back for seven shipping containers containing almost everything that goes into the seven trucks used within Europe. This means that the team members sometimes go for months at a time without seeing half of their equipment while the containers make the long voyage by sea from Mexico to Argentina and then on to Australia. Only the three Polo R WRCs and certain spare parts are flown out to these three rallies – there is too little time between the individual rounds of the World Championship for this extremely valuable cargo to be transported by ship.
13 rallies in eleven months
The WRC calendar sets the pace for all of the team's plans and organisation. The season starts with the Rally Monte Carlo in January and finishes in November in Wales. In between, rallies are held more or less every three weeks. The team's freight scarcely arrives back at the factory in Hanover following one event before work begins to load it up for the next rally. Even after the last competition of the year, the team has less than two months over Christmas and New Year to prepare for the beginning of the 2014 season.
Efficient workflows, intelligent processes: on-site service
Four to six days before a rally begins, the six-strong transport team from Volkswagen arrives at the service park and starts setting up the service area. As soon as the service area for the three Polo R WRCs is complete, the six logistics experts retreat into the wings and give the team's mechanics and engineers centre stage. From this point on, it is all about preparing the three World Rally Cars optimally for the forthcoming challenges and using the brief servicing and repair breaks during the rally as efficiently as possible.
Meanwhile, the six logisticians take care of tyre management and equipment maintenance – then they are immediately on hand to dismantle the service area as soon as the rally finishes. At the European events, the first fully laden trucks often start their journey back to Hanover just a few hours after the presentation ceremony. Time is of the essence: it is never long until the next rally.
Feature kindly supplied by Volkswagen Motorsport