Adversities thrown at Armin Schwarz and All German Motorsports at the Laughlin Desert Challenge.
Laughlin/Nevada (USA), 17 January 2012. The season-opening round of the 2012 US SCORE Championship did not run to plan for Armin Schwarz and All German Motorsports. At the two races of the Laughlin Desert Challenge, they aimed to earn as many points as possible with their brand new AGM-Jimco X6 SCORE Trophy Truck to set themselves up for the rest of the season. But things turned out differently. In the first race on Saturday, Schwarz had to throw in the towel. In Sunday’s second race, teammate Martin Christensen faced several difficulties, but managed to bring the Trophy Truck home in tenth place.
“We actually experienced the same difficult start in Laughlin as we’ve had every year. We’ve never had much luck here,” explains Schwarz. “We’ve never achieved a good result to start the season, but then we’ve gone strong for the rest of the year with good results. So obviously that’s what I’m hoping for now.”
The difficulties already began in the days leading up to the race when Schwarz and AGM went testing in Mexico. The team made great progress in the set-up of the Trophy Truck, but an oil leak caused the vehicle to catch fire. “Luckily we were able to limit the damage and not lose the entire vehicle in flames,” said Schwarz. AGM worked day and night to repair the Trophy Truck in time for the race weekend and lost crucial time in preparing specifically for the Laughlin Desert Challenge.
Moreover, during the tests it became apparent that the springs were still too short. Partner Eibach is now working on supplying longer springs – but in the limited time to the race this was not possible. “The shorter springs have the effect of kicking the back of the car up strongly and this is a major disadvantage on the bumpy track around Laughlin. But that was just a minor aspect, because our goal was actually to finish the race,” explains Schwarz.
But this was not to be for the team in the first race on Saturday. After just two miles the halfshaft – the shaft that goes from the rear differential to the wheel – broke. “Then we only had one-wheel drive, so you may as well park the car on the side of the road. Otherwise you have many small components flying around that would pulverise everything else,” describes Schwarz. The damages were fixed in time for Sunday’s race. AGM team boss Christensen piloted the Trophy Truck for the second event. For an as yet unknown reason, he lost second gear but managed to fight his way through to finish tenth.
“Through this defect we’ve learned a number of things when working with our brand new car. For instance, about the life expectancy of individual components like the halfshaft,” says Schwarz positively. “The whole week was anything but good, other than our very promising test results. But we can utilise the negative feedback to prepare for the next race, the Baja 250. Like last year there, we’ll try to bring home another good result.”
The Baja 250 runs from 9 to 11 March in the Mexican city of San Felipe. The squad now conducts a detailed analysis of individual components with partner Fortin. In addition, the crew will be looking at why the second gear didn’t work on Sunday. Based on the test results, Eibach are developing springs of the needed length. Just before the Baja 250 heads off, AGM will again go testing in San Felipe.