Tuesday | 08 Dec 2020

Michelin bids ‘au revoir’ to WRC

Michelin bowed out of the FIA World Rally Championship with a clean sweep of titles across the principal categories at ACI Rally Monza last weekend.

Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia’s seventh crown was enhanced by Hyundai Motorsport’s success in the manufacturers’ series. The French tyre company also claimed the WRC 2 silverware with Mads Østberg and Torstein Eriksen and in WRC 3 with Jari Huttunen and Mikko Lukka.

Michelin won the WRC’s very first round in 1973 at Rallye Monte-Carlo and Ogier’s Monza win took the company’s tally to 347 event wins. It has claimed 28 drivers’ titles with 12 different drivers and 30 manufacturers’ crowns with 11 different car makers.

Michelin Motorsport director Matthieu Bonardel said the WRC had brought Michelin so much.

“Since the series was first organised in 1973, we have missed just seven seasons and our tyres are associated with some of its most memorable episodes,” he added.

Video: Michelin in WRC

“While Michelin has brought its expertise and passion to the table for many years, the WRC has in turn contributed considerably to the progress our tyres have made and to increasing the global awareness of our brand.

“Over the course of our 41-year involvement, Michelin has introduced a range of unique technologies developed to combine safety, performance and resilience. In this respect, the WRC has served as an invaluable high-tech laboratory for our research and development department.”

Pirelli will return to world rallying’s top tier for the first time in a decade next season, kick starting a four-year single supply agreement. Testing with the WRC’s manufacturer teams begins this week.

Landmark achievements from Michelin’s WRC participation include:

1973
Wins six rounds in the WRC’s inaugural season with the Alpine A110.

1982
The first WRC victory by a four-wheel drive car when Hannu Mikkola wins Finland’s 1000 Lakes Rally in an Audi Quattro.

1987
First win with the new-generation Group A cars in Sweden when Timo Salonen is victorious in a Mazda 323.
Introduces its run-flat ATS (Appui Temporaire Souple) technology.

1991
100th world class win in Sanremo with Lancia’s Didier Auriol.

1997
First victory in the new World Rally Car class on the Acropolis Rally with Ford’s Carlos Sainz.

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2003
Markko Märtin scores 200th WRC win in Finland.

2004
Sébastien Loeb scores his first world title on Michelin tyres.

2013
First victory and first WRC title for Sébastien Ogier with Michelin.

2016
Notches up its 300th WRC victory in Spain thanks to Ogier.

2020
Ogier wins seventh title with Michelin as French firm departs WRC.