SPA IN THE RAIN: CHOOSING THE RIGHT TYRE
After 18 hours' racing Michelin leads the GT1 category thanks to the Maserati MC12 driven by Pedro Lamy. The Clermont manufacturer is in 2nd place in GT2 with the AF Corse Motorola Team.
Matthieu Bonardel: Michelin 4 Wheels Competitions Manager
"The soft compound was used during the night and those who put them at the start changed to medium like Phoenix Racing. Luckily, there was a lot of rubber on the track so the team consolidated its lead. Those that kept the soft rubber for the night were very quick and pulled back lost ground.
There were 3 showers. In the rain it's a gamble and experience can make the difference.
The first, short shower arrived at 06:00 and it wasn't very heavy. Some teams opted for hard rain rubber but the Belgian team Peka Racing stayed out on slicks. The rain soon stopped and for 1 stint it was lapping 5 seconds quicker than its rivals. So those who stopped for rain tyres made the wrong choice.
The second shower was at 07:00 and was a bit heavier. The teams reacted in the same way, and only Olivier Beretta (Luc Alphand Adventures) stayed out on slicks while the others opted for rain tyres. Pedro Lamy changed to intermediates and it was the right choice as he was 8 seconds quicker per lap than his rivals and opened out a good lead.
Then at 08:00 it began to pour. Those on wets reckoned it was the right choice. What, in fact, was needed were full wets. So once again the Maseratis and Phoenix Racing made the right choice.
Naturally, the teams opted for safety in the wet conditions and it was necessary to make the right selection without taking too many risks.
It'll probably rain until the end of the race but it may still be possible to shod slicks. A good gamble in the rain combined with the right rubber could still pay off!"
Vincent Vosse (Luc Alphand Adventures)
"It's been a difficult race so far especially where tyre choice is concerned. We need help on the track. You have to select the right tyre at the right moment. Luckily, Michelin has brought along a very wide range of tyres. We saw that in the wet Olivier Beretta was quicker on slicks than his rivals on rain tyres. The conditions change all the time so you have to adapt quickly and wisely."