Sordo warns in-car temperatures will be "too hot" in Sardinia

Leading Rally1 drivers have said they are bracing themselves for one of the most physically and mentally demanding weekends they are likely to encounter in this season’s World Rally Championship.
Sordo warns in-car temperatures will be

Apart from the notoriously rough and unforgiving character of Rally Italia Sardegna’s stages, the main talking point on the eve of the Mediterranean island-based event has been the sweltering conditions crews will experience when belted-up in the cockpit.

Ambient temperatures at round five of the World Rally Championship are expected to peak around 41 degrees Celsius on Saturday, with M-Sport Ford, Hyundai Motorsport and Toyota Gazoo Racing mechanics limited in the steps they have been allowed to take to try and counteract this.

Measures that have been deployed in line with FIA guidance include modifying the cars' roof scoop, introducing small vents to each of the front side windows, and placing silver film on these to reflect heat. Hyundai has also resorted to applying gold to the roofs of their three I20 N Rally 1 cars.

One less noticeable adaptation that can be made centres around how insulation is packaged in the engine bays. How effective these will prove remains to be seen as this morning's shakedown stage ran close to the coast where an onshore breeze made crews' jobs somewhat more bearable.

The subject of cabin cooling – and the effects it was having on drivers and co-drivers – came to a head at Rally de Portugal last month, with current Championship leader Kalle Rovanpera and World Rally veteran Dani Sordo among those who went on the record to complain.

Co-drivers are known to experience the heat issue more given that the route of the exhaust has been altered from the central position on the now obsolete World Rally Cars to the right-hand side of the hybrid-powered Rally1 cars – right where they sit.

Sordo said the weekend ahead in Sardinia was full of unanswered questions. “We don’t know,” said the Spaniard, when asked just how challenging the weekend will be. “It will be difficult to be comfortable in the car.

“It will be too hot. The temperatures in the previous years was a little bit more cold. Now there is no wind, really hot, much more warm inside. It will also be a big challenge.”

M-Sport Ford’s Craig Breen admitted there was little anything crews can do over-and-above their regular routines to acclimatise to the extreme conditions. “Honestly, there is not so much that you can do to be fully ready. You can go in a sauna – that’s as much as you can do,” he said.

“The guys have tried to do the best they can in the short time between Portugal to try and insulate the car from the heat a little bit better.

“This morning didn’t feel too bad but the air is a little bit fresher closer to the sea. Obviously, it was earlier in the morning and not as many kilometres. It will be interesting to see what the weekend will be,” added the Irishman.

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