Success on the world rally stages is the result of a combined effort. It is how a group of individuals unifies together as a team. It is also how many different components come together to create a competitive rally car. Our Subassembly Department plays a key role in how our i20 Coupe WRC is developed.
Most areas of our rally cars are connected in some way to the work of our sub-assembly colleagues. They carry out a wide range of tasks, building and checking the entire suspension, from dampers to brakes, hydraulic systems to steering.
Before every rally, our Subassembly team prepares a fully assembled suspension, complete with front and rear axle, as well as a deconstructed version for each individual vehicle.
In addition to this, they must also prepare two to three hydraulic assemblies, steering and brake systems for each car at every single event. For the mixed surface event at Rally Spain, there is one set for gravel and one for tarmac.
It is a complex job, requiring exceptional organisational skills and a comprehensive technical knowledge. Our colleagues in this area need to work methodically and accurately with attention to detail – and like all areas of our business, under immense time pressure.
During a rally weekend, our Subassembly colleagues support in case of any incidents or car repairs. Post-rally, they dismantle and inspect suspension parts, working closely with other departments in our Alzenau factory.
This procedure entails robust industrial activity of the suspension itself, but also accurate checking for cracks and conducting thorough quality control. There are also more delicate tasks like the disassembling and cleaning of the whole hydraulic system and rebuilding of the pedals and steering column. After rebuild, it is run on the test bench to assess and confirm full functionality.
Our Subassembly colleagues have connections with almost every department in the factory. They work with electronics to align sensors to the chassis and hydraulic system, and with transmission for mounting of the differential to the rear axle frame.
There is a lot of collaboration with the test team, to understand more about the performance of specific parts in freer testing conditions. Any problems or ideas for improvement are discussed with the engineering team, while the workshop itself is almost like a customer – to whom the final suspension and assemblies are delivered.
Subassembly is a complicated process but our colleagues are always improving the efficiency of their work. It is all about assembling experience.