14 Jan 08
wrc.com: Do you think the control tyre situation will make competition closer throughout the year?
Paul Howarth: Pretty much everyone was on BFGoodrich tyres last year, and for the most part everyone used the same compounds and tread at each event, so a control tyre will not necessarily bunch everyone together. It will, however, take away any debate about weather and compound, so in times of uncertainty everyone will be in the same situation which will make it closer. What will really make the difference is which driver is able to make the most of those tyres when conditions change and it rains or when temperatures fall.
wrc.com: How do you think the new tyres will affect the Monte Carlo Rally?
Paul Howarth: Success on the Monte owes more to good driving than outright car performance. I think everyone has the chance to benefit from the new tyres, as punctures will be far more costly this year than last. There is certainly the chance that results could be decided by punctures, especially early on when drivers might be caught out by cutting corners too aggressively. Adapting to the performance characteristics of a new tyre is always difficult, but when you throw in the varied conditions of this particular rally, it will be even more of a challenge. The drivers that can adapt quickly and make no mistakes are going to be hard to beat."