2001 World Rally Championship Round 7: Acropolis Rally (June 14th - 17th 2001) Just as demanding... The recent Cyprus Rally confirmed the old adage: "to finish first you first must finish". The tracks of the Mediterranean island effectively...
2001 World Rally Championship
Round 7: Acropolis Rally (June 14th - 17th 2001)
Just as demanding...
The recent Cyprus Rally confirmed the old adage: "to finish first you first must finish".
The tracks of the Mediterranean island effectively saw the hopes of a number of top- Trunners prematurely dashed, either because of mechanical failure or following an off. Michelin's partners were amongst those who suffered the most and were unfortunately unable to take their challenge for victory all the way. Even so, the first place of Marcus Grönholm (Peugeot-Michelin) at the end of the opening leg and his presence in the leading trio before his retirement within sight of the finish provided confirmation of the French tyres' potential on this exceptionally demanding terrain.
This weekend sees the 2001 World Rally Championship switch to southern Greece. But while the event marks a slight change of scenery, the conditions promise to be just as extreme: sun-baked and rough. For sure, the stages on the slopes of the majestic Mount Parnassos promise to be more flowing than their Cypriot counterparts, but cars and drivers alike can expect the same punishing treatment.
In spite of the tough context, Michelin's tyres have been designed to match the situation, just as they were this time last year when they contributed to Ford's emphatic one-two finish on the 2000 Acropolis. It has to be remembered that tyres are the only part of the car's transmission and suspension in contact with the ground and, as such, are clearly in the frontline when it comes to soaking up the knocks, bumps and difficulties due to the track.
For maximum performance and strength, they need to operate in an optimised 'environment', and this dictates careful fine-tuning of the active differentials and suspensions of the cars they equip. It is therefore with this in mind that Michelin's technicians and the engineers of their partners Mitsubishi, Peugeot, Hyundai and Skoda will prepare for the event during the various test sessions that have been programmed before the start.
It shouldn't be forgotten either that the Greek round will see the gravel debut of the new Citroën Xsara-Michelin. Two months ago, the car caused a stir on the asphalt of Catalonia by mono- polising the top of the leaderboard for much of the event. There is clearly little in common between the two surfaces, but what if the men in red were to spring the surprise of the rally on Sunday?