Nurburgring: Michelin qualifying notes

After scoring its tenth Le Mans 24-Hours win on the trot Michelin has set pole today on the Nurburgring circuit in Germany thanks to the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP (Marc Gene/Nicolas Minassian). In LM P2, the RML Team (Thomas Erdos/Mike Newton,) was ...

After scoring its tenth Le Mans 24-Hours win on the trot Michelin has set pole today on the Nurburgring circuit in Germany thanks to the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP (Marc Gene/Nicolas Minassian). In LM P2, the RML Team (Thomas Erdos/Mike Newton,) was quickest, and in GT1 the fastest time was set by the ORECA Team Saleen (Stephane Ortelli/Soheil Ayari).

The Nurburgring layout induces understeer, and one of Michelin's objectives today was to find the right front and rear tyre combinations to give its cars the best balance.

Matthieu Bonardel Competitions director (4 wheels)

Comparison soft and medium compounds

"We had three practice sessions in the dry two of which were on a green track as it had been washed clean by showers. These conditions are similar to those we may meet tomorrow early on in the race. The track's slippery and very demanding on tyres, as it'll rubber in as the cars rack up the laps. It doesn't make the tyre choice any easier for the drivers. All our teams were able to compare soft and medium combinations or soft/medium ones for some of them."

Opposing choices in the same team

"On a green track there's a performance fall-off at the start then it stabilises. The medium compound can do 2 stints without degradation. It's a bit trickier with the soft tyre. In the same team there were different qualifying strategies with a different tyre choice. That promises a few surprises for tomorrow, and we'll see starts and ends of stints that won't be the same. Other teams have opted for soft/medium compromises a choice that usually pays off at the Ring, but we'll have to see how it works in endurance.

In GT, the choice is more common. They've found a big performance fall-off on the green track. "

Rain: difficult to make the right choice

"If it rains tomorrow we'll have to base our choice on the Le Mans 24 Hours as we haven't been able to do any wet weather testing here. We'll certainly have problems in finding the right choice for everybody, and I'm expecting a few disappointments. The circuit's difficult to understand in the rain. If we put on tyres that are too hard the car will slide around, and with a soft compound they won't go the distance."

Daring and novel choices

"Overall our tyres have performed well in qualifying and we've managed to outpace our rivals. Not all the teams have followed our advice for dry conditions and have opted for novel and daring choices, so I'm expected a race full of upsets."

Credit: michelin

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About this article
Series European Le Mans
Drivers Nicolas Minassian , Marc Gene , Stéphane Ortelli , Mike Newton , Thomas Erdos