Thursday | 09 Oct 2014

Thumbs up for Michelin’s new tyres

Michelin’s new range of asphalt tyres were well-received by drivers during their first appearance in the WRC at Rallye de France-Alsace (2 - 5 October).

The French company, which supplies all the WRC’s leading teams, upgraded its Pilot Sport rubber in both soft and hard compounds to add to the wet weather version that was available for the first time at August’s ADAC Rallye Deutschland.

Although several drivers were concerned the tyres ‘moved’ more in dry conditions, they proved popular on damp roads on Sunday morning.

“It’s a good step. The beauty of this tyre, as we saw on Sunday, is that there’s a wider range. It can clear more water and mud and it spreads the risk for the humid conditions and the dry conditions,” Citroen’s Kris Meeke told

Meeke said the new tyres suited a wider range of conditions

“Maybe it’s not as good in the bone dry conditions we had on Friday and Saturday, but if we introduced a pure slick tyre, like there was in the 1980s, it would take time to get used to that as well,” he added.

Rally winner Jari-Matti Latvala said the feeling was different and he had to adapt to them.

“I think the new tyres are competitive, especially in damp and wet conditions and stage times were effectively down compared with the former tyres. In the dry I had to adapt my driving style because the car seemed to ‘move’ more under hard cornering,” he said.

Hyundai’s Dani Sordo admitted the initial feeling wasn’t positive. “I had trouble adapting to begin with because they ‘moved’ more than the previous tyres. I was also concerned about the H4’s (hard compound) ability to resist wear.

“As the rally progressed, though, I started to understand how the new tyres worked and realised their wear was very even,” he said.

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