For Heiko Kröger – 2000 Paralympics gold medalist in Sydney and 2012 silver medalist in London – the training session in Ingolstadt marked another milestone on the road to the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. “At our first wind tunnel test a year ago we already gathered a wealth of important data. And this time, the work here allowed us to make another major step forward,” says Joachim Hellmich, Technical Director of the national sailing team. “The conditions in the wind tunnel are optimal and therefore an important part of our preparation.”
The airflow in the wind tunnel was used to study the various sail settings in order to obtain findings about those that are best for propulsion. This was done by systematically testing the settings that act on the sail profile against each other. These minute details can only be identified in the wind tunnel in conditions that are constantly identical.
Heiko Kröger was the first Paralympics participant to train at the Audi wind tunnel. His schedule included the downwind test with full rigging in a one-person keelboat (2.4mR) as well as sail trim and sail profile tests. The objective of these tests is to maximize propulsion by studying various wind angles. The data gathered provide the basis for optimizing performance on water and to thus ideally prepare for the Paralympics.
“Training in the Audi wind tunnel was a fantastic opportunity. This day at the wind tunnel was a really important stage on the road to the Games in Brazil,” says Kröger, who is responsible for the ‘Inclusion’ section within Audi Sailing Team Germany. The national team has always attached great importance to people with and without disabilities living and working together. The 2.4mR boat class reflects this integration philosophy, as the design of the hull is conducive to being adjusted to the personal needs of the helmsman. That is why this category can be sailed by athletes with and without disabilities in international and national regattas.
Since 2010, AUDI AG has been supporting Audi Sailing Team Germany as principal sponsor and premium partner on its way to the world’s top ranks. The integration of disabled people in sailing is a common aim of the partnership.