Friday | 26 Sep 2014

New tyres bring new approach

Results at next weekend’s Rallye de France Alsace could be thrown wide open as teams are forced to change their normal car set-up to cope with the different handling characteristics that Michelin’s new range of asphalt tyres will bring.

The French tyre manufacturer has upgraded its Pilot Sport rubber in both soft and hard compounds for the Strasbourg-based event that runs from 3-5 October (see story on 25 September).

The new S4 (soft) tyre, suitable for use in cool and damp conditions, and the new H4 (hard tyre) ideal for warmer and drier weather, feature a new tread pattern and a revised construction that reduces their weight by 0.5kg per tyre. Michelin introduced a new wet weather version to its Pilot Sport range at August’s Rallye Deutschland.

Citröen engineers get to grips with Michelin's new rubber

All of the leading factory teams have been testing Michelin’s new rubber in the build up to the penultimate asphalt rally of the season and their findings are set to force them into making some crucial set-up changes in readiness for the event, described as a cross between the stages that are typically found in Spain and Germany.

Didier Clément, Citröen’s Chief Operations Engineer, said: “We need the car to be very balanced in terms of downforce and testing enabled us to work on this particular aspect with the new Michelin range of tyres which have been completely redesigned to include a fairly deep, third longitudinal line.

“The Pilot Sport H4 and S4 tyres will be safer and quicker with average levels of surface water on the road, but they are slightly less responsive in dry conditions. As the handling is different we have to adjust the set-up.
“Our two drivers have adapted well to the new tyres and they had the same feeling and agreed on the same set-up in preparation for this rally.”

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