Tyres to play a key part in Monte Carlo

Motor Sport News - - Rally News - David Evans

Af­ter an ex­cep­tion­ally warm win­ter so far, tem­per­a­tures have plum­meted in the French Alps, bring­ing snow and ice to the Monte Carlo stages in the last few days.

This week kicks off with mi­nus 10 de­grees and colder in the Hautes-alpes. Good, that makes tyre choice more straight­for­ward. It’ll have to be the stud.

But that weather was Mon­day. Thurs­day and Fri­day? Five, six, seven, maybe even 10 de­grees. The ice and snow will melt dur­ing the day, but what time will it start freez­ing again. And at what al­ti­tude. Which tyre now?

The driv­ers will have 20 soft and 24 supersoft com­pound tyres to chose from. On top of that, there’s the heav­ily treaded win­ter op­tion – with 12 of those avail­able. Or there’s that tyre with a stud. Twenty-four of th­ese can be used. But, if is that’s not com­pli­cated enough, a driver can only use a max­i­mum of 39 of those 80 tyres dur­ing the event.

Miche­lin tyre tech­ni­cian Hugues Pier­ron ad­mits this week is the most stress­ful of the sea­son for him: “The Monte is in­cred­i­bly com­plex. You have to se­lect the best tyres for up to three com­pletely dif­fer­ent spe­cial stages. You can never se­lect the per­fect tyres for all three stages. What you are look­ing for is the per­fect com­pro­mise.

“That is why we have our peo­ple who are able to tell us ac­cu­rately that it is snow­ing at kilo­me­tre one, that the route is dry­ing out from kilo­me­tre six, and that there are patches of black ice from kilo­me­tre 20 to the fin­ish. We are then able to make the tyre se­lec­tion to­gether with the driver.”

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