Valencia: Michelin qualifying report

TYRES: CRUCIALLY IMPORTANT FOR HENRI PESCAROLO Today on the Valencia circuit in Spain Peugeot and Michelin set another pole position in the second round of the 2007 Le Mans Series. The Pescarolo Sport cars, the 2006 ...

TYRES: CRUCIALLY IMPORTANT FOR HENRI PESCAROLO

Today on the Valencia circuit in Spain Peugeot and Michelin set another pole position in the second round of the 2007 Le Mans Series.

The Pescarolo Sport cars, the 2006 titleholder, came 5th and 14th.

For Henri Pescarolo, the battle with the factories is a tough one, and he explains how important a role his work with Michelin plays in the overall performance of his cars.

- Is the choice of tyres a very tricky one for an LMS race?

"1000-km races are always a head-scratcher for the team manager and the Michelin teams in terms of tyre choices. We have two types at our disposal, which represent a multitude of possibilities. We can put on soft tyres that we change after each stint, or medium rubber that we change every two stints but without any guarantees, and finally we can put on mixed tyres with soft and medium rubber on the front and the rear."

- How does Michelin participate in your strategy whether in qualifying or in the race?

"Free practice is short and we never do eighty laps with the same set so we don't know which type of rubber will work best in the race. There's always a question mark. That's also the interest of this kind of racing, working in close collaboration with the Michelin tyre engineers to try and make the best choice possible for qualifying and the race."

- How important is the collaboration with the Michelin tyre engineer?

"It's capital! The engineer authorises us to do one or two stints with such and such a type of tyre according to the wear. On our side, we evaluate the performance and behaviour, in particular in the light of the drivers' comments. Then we decide according to our race pace whether we can keep the same set of rubber for more than one stint or not. We work in permanent collaboration with the Michelin engineer."

- In view of the Le Mans 24 Hours, does working with Michelin provide you a certain serenity?

"It's a choice that I made a long time ago. I know that having Michelin for the 24 Hours gives me something I can count on. It's a circuit that generates very specific stresses and that requires experience. In this area Michelin has a huge data bank. I've been approached by other manufacturers on several occasions, but I stay with Michelin because I think mainly of the Le Mans 24 Hours. Michelin develops tyres especially for this race taking into account the different temperature parameters at daytime and nighttime. The tyre choice is really crucial."

-credit: michelin

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Series European Le Mans
Drivers Henri Pescarolo