Germany’s FIA World Rally Championship round is always susceptible to changing weather conditions and the teams will be under pressure to select the right tyre compound for each loop of stages through the slippery vineyard tracks based on detailed meteorological data and reports fed through from weather crews located within the special stages.
All World Rally Cars competing in Germany this year will be using Michelin’s new stronger Pilot Sport tyres available in hard compound (H1) and soft compound (S1). Teams will have an allocation of 32 hard and 22 soft tyres and can use a maximum of 40 during the rally. They will have made their selection prior to the cars leaving the service park in Trier this morning and as Citroen Racing head Yves Matton explains, it can be a stressful period.
“You can never be sure you have the correct information because it can always be changing and you have to anticipate what will be happening in the stages after but we are in a good situation,” says Matton, who points to his team’s partnership with Meteo France.
“They are putting at our disposal a guy who has been doing the job for a long time and knows very well the job,” Matton explains. “For sure the weather forecast is his job but he needs to know how we are working, how is the rally working, the regulation about changing tyres and things like that. But there is also a lot of work and a lot of anticipation. For sure the base is the provision of information from Meteo France but we have a lot of information coming from the stages and there are people co-ordinating this. Like always in Citroen it’s not a decision from one person but a decision coming from everybody putting their opinion.”
The factory Ford team also employs the services of a meteorologist and boss Malcolm Wilson is confident they will be able to make the right call on tyre compound choices having been outfoxed on the opening day of this event last season.
“It’s a different company we are using this year and hopefully we can be a little bit better prepared than last year,” Wilson admits. “Certainly the forecast at the minute is looking as though it will be typical Germany, tricky, so it’s going to be crucial we get the decisions right and that’s what we’re paying the services for. We also have a lot of people out there on the stages monitoring what’s happening.”