MICHELIN reins in the Principality
MICHELIN celebrated the Rallye Monte-Carlo’s return to the WRC calendar with another resounding win on the world’s most famous rally. The new MICHELIN Pilot Sport and MICHELIN Pilot Alpin WRC tyres helped Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena (Citroën DS3 WRC) collect the sixth win of their career in the Principality.
Ever since the Rallye Monte-Carlo was organised for the first time in 1911, the event’s trademark changeable, wintry conditions have played a major part in forging its popularity and reputation. Although there was no snowy backdrop to this year’s rally, competitors still had to cope with icy roads in France’s Ardèche and Vercors Mountains before tackling the legendary Col du Turini stage on the penultimate day.
For this event, where tyre choices are notoriously difficult, MICHELIN’s partners were able to select from five different products: the Pilot Sport SS1 (‘super soft’ compound), S1 (‘soft’) and H1 (‘hard’) for wet or dry asphalt, plus studded and non-studded variants of the Pilot Alpin WRC for icy or snowy conditions.
The latter was developed specifically for this year’s 2012 Rallye Monte-Carlo and the early stages in the Ardèche and Vercors Mountains provided MICHELIN with a chance to showcase its potential in terms of grip, precision, durability and safety performance. The MICHELIN Pilot Alpin WRC was developed at the same time as the new MICHELIN Alpin 4 road tyre which will be presented to the press at the end of February and released for sale in the second half of 2012.
Sébastien Loeb (Citroën/MICHELIN), six-time Rallye Monte-Carlo winner: “Once again, getting tyre choices spot on proved decisive. I think my choice of four studded Pilot Alpin WRCs for Friday morning’s two stages in the Vercors was the most competitive option. It helped me extend my lead…”
In addition to tyre choices, tyre management strategies also played a key role in the final outcome. The latest WRC regulations for 2012 have further reduced the number of tyres each competitor may use during a rally. At the same time, the so-called ‘Priority 1’ and ‘Priority 2’ drivers had to manage their limited allocations of each tyre type for the five days of action, yet that took nothing away from the extremely high level of competition. On the contrary!