Porsche recently held a 3-day training session for the drivers who'll be taking the automaker's 26 factory-prepared Cayenne S Transsyberias out rallying later this summer. The roster is sprinkled with drivers from various rally disciplines like Rod Millen, Armin Schwartz, René Metge, and Marc Coma, who will be among the other enthusiasts taking part in the 4,100-mile adventure.
The session, held at Porsche's off-road test area at Leipzig, let the drivers get acclimated to the cars, see how they handled various conditions, and brush up on their navigation and field repair skills. They'll need it, as the Transsyberia Rally course from Moscow to Mongolia is sure to bring its share of unexpected surprises along the way.
First-rate drivers take Porsche Cayenne to the starting line
Stuttgart. Two and a half months before the start of the Transsyberia Rally, Porsche has produced a small production run of 26 Cayenne S Transsyberias in Leipzig. At a mass training session, the drivers got intimately acquainted with their 385-bhp, long-distance rally vehicles and prepared themselves for their two-week mission. Among the Porsche drivers who will be lining up at the start in Moscow on August 2 are Armin Schwarz, the second most successful German rally driver after Walter Röhrl; three-time champion of the Dakar Rally, René Metge (France); two-time motorcycle world rally champion, Marc Coma (Spain); and New Zealand rally legend, Rod Millen.
During the three-day training session, the participants performed various driving exercises on the off-road terrain of Porsche's Leipzig plant. Every driver, without exception, was taken aback by the outstanding off-road capabilities of the Cayenne S Transsyberia. The permanent all-wheel drive of Porsche Traction Management (PTM) has a differential lock which further improves traction. Rough-tread off-road tires ensure optimal grip with the ground. The ground clearance of the Cayenne S Transsyberia can be adjusted by means of a rocker switch on the dash to suit the different driving conditions. Along fast stretches, Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) uses a pair of active stabilizers to eliminate body roll almost entirely. On trickier terrain, the stabilizers can be completely decoupled for maximum suspension articulation.
"I never thought such a large automobile could be so agile," said rally maestro Armin Schwarz (43) as he marveled at the sportiness of the Cayenne S Transsyberia. Schwarz, who took third in the 2001 Safari Rally, continued, "with its off-road tires, decoupled stabilizers and incredible all-wheel drive, this thing can go practically anywhere. The 4.8-liter V8 engine has tremendous torque."
In addition to off-road driving, the training session in Leipzig also featured slalom and obstacle-avoidance exercises on the asphalt, plus navigation practice and repairs sessions. "After the training, I couldn't feel better prepared for the adventure," said Schwarz. "I can't wait for the Transsyberia – the same sorts of challenges await me between Moscow and Mongolia as those I was up against in the Rally World Championship," added the 1996 European Rally Champion.
The Transsyberia Rally starts in Moscow on August 2 and ends 6,600 kilometers away in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, on August 17.