2000 World Rally Championship
Round 11: Tour of Corsica (September 28th - October 1st 2000)
SHAPING UP FOR A FABULOUS FINALE!
With only four rounds to go before the curtain comes down on the 2000 World Rally Championship, the situation at the top of both the Drivers' and Makes' points tables could hardly be more nail-biting. In the former, no fewer than four drivers are still very much concerned by the final run-in. Meanwhile, on the manufacturers' front, and even though Ford-Michelin has pulled slightly clear, Subaru and Peugeot-Michelin both have a serious chance for the crown, while a final sprint from Mitsubishi-Michelin cannot be ruled out. Today, as teams prepare for the first of two consecutive asphalt rounds, there is still absolutely everything to play for!
With two asphalt events, then two gravel rounds due to bring the season to a close, observers have been busy since Cyprus weighing up the respective chances of Gronholm (Peugeot-Michelin), McRae (Ford-Michelin), Burns (Subaru) and Sainz (Ford-Michelin) - and their cars - on each of these types of surface. Indeed, going into the final phase, these four drivers are split by a mere seven points!*
Beyond what the form book says on paper however, nobody should lose sight of the valuable psychological edge a driver could gain with a top performance this weekend in Corsica and then, barely a fortnight later, in Sanremo.
With this in mind, Michelin's partners will be aware that the spearhead product of the French firm's asphalt range - the Michelin 'FP' - has won every tarmac round at world level since its launch in 1998. But the strength of Michelin's products is by no means restricted to sealed surfaces; the last four gravel rounds have also been won by drivers competing on tyres produced by the Clermont Ferrand-based group.
Whatever the final outcome, one thing is certain: whoever clinches the title at the end of what is shaping up to be a fabulous finale will surely be a champion worthy of the term. And the biggest winner in all of this stands to be the sport itself!
* A win is worth ten points, a second place six points.
I N T E R N E T
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On the technical front
Tyres and the World Rally Championship
Experience, speed of reaction, a comprehensive, competitive range, a permanent research and development programme, close technical collaboration with our partners.
Michelin's success in the World Rally Championship is founded on its expertise and the high standard of service it provides. However, every event poses its own particular challenge and success often hinges on the quality and accuracy of the response to each situation.
The challenge of Corsica.
Resurfacing work over the years cannot detract from this event's nickname of 'Rally of the 10,000 Corners'. The picture is further complicated by an endless succession of bumps and awkward cambers that make this one of motor sport's most demanding events, all categories included! Steering precision, lateral grip and consistency over the full length of the longest stages are the fundamental qualities drivers look for in their tyres for Corsica.
Michelin's solution - sophisticated technology
Aime Chatard, manager of Michelin's rallies programme:
"Mme si la nouvelle date du Tour de Corse devrait le rendre moins sensible aux perturbations meteo, ce rallye demeure un defi exceptionnel sur le plan des pneus qui - rappelons-le - sont sous-dimensionnes d'environ 20% par rapport l'ideal.
Malgre cette contrainte, Michelin a realise des progrs considerables en performance asphalte gr ce l'utilisation de nouveaux materiaux et une matrise de plus en plus approfondie des lois physiques et chimiques qui gouvernent le pneumatique. En plus d'une qualite de guidage accrue, ces recherches ont notamment permis un bond important en adherence laterale avec le Michelin FP ("Fort Potentiel") dont la premi re generation est apparue en 1998.
Cependant, pour que ce produit donne son maximum, il exige un travail pointu sur les voitures qu'il equipe. En plus d'une bonne homogeneite de la repartition des masses, ces efforts portent surtout sur la reduction au minimum du carrossage et la limitation du patinage. Enfin, le reglage fin de l'amortissement du vehicule vient completer ce travail pour optimiser la vie des pneus sur ce genre de revtement."
The tyre's importance in Cyprus, as seen by:
Tommi Makinen (driver, Mitsubishi-Michelin)
"One of the main keys to a good performance in Corsica is accurate information. The big problem here has traditionally been having to choose a single tyre for two 'grouped' stages that might take place in opposing or even changeable weather conditions.
You're in a Monte Carlo situation where up-to-date, reliable information from weather crews posted in the mountains is vital in guiding tyre choice.
Tyre wear isn't generally a problem in Corsica so long as you get compound choice right. Here again, the quality of feedback from recce and from gravel note crews concerning the exact nature of the asphalt used is crucial in the decision making process.
Personally, I have to say that my tarmac driving style has evolved over the years. Whereas I used to perhaps push too hard, I have now developed a much smoother style, more akin to racing in my choice of lines."
AMONGST THE MOST DEMANDING EVENTS OF ALL!
Despite their lower than ideal dimensions, the tyres of today's WRC cars must cope with lateral forces of up to 2G through many of Corsica's countless corners. They must also transmit to the ground a level of energy superior to 1 kW per cm. sq., even though the rubber reaches temperatures in excess of 100C! Make no mistake, this is one of the most demanding motorsport events on the calendar!
Michelin's tyres for the Tour of Corsica
Prevailing conditions Type of tyre theoretically the most
suited Dimension Technical description
Dry, cool weather (up to 16C ground temp.) Michelin N1
(base tyre) + Evolutions 20/65x18
These are all racing tyres.
Individual patterns, compounds and constructions differ of course according to their end use and conditions (dry surfaces, damp surfaces, amount of rain, temperature).
Their tread width is the maximum authorised by the regulations (9" or 228mm) in order to optimise the transmission of the car's power to the ground, while their low sidewall dimensions favour cornering stability.
The minimum sea-to-land ration (grooves/tread) of the dry weather tyres is 17%.
Dry weather, 'normal' temperatures (13C to 26C ground temp.)
(base tyre) + N2 Evolutions including the 'FP' ('Strong
Potential') and Evolution FP 20/65x18
Dry, hot weather (from 20C ground temp.) Michelin N43
(base tyre) + N4 Evolutions including the 'FP' ('Strong Potential') and Evolution FP 20/65x18
Damp tarmac Michelin TA03
(base tyre) + TA0 Evolutions 20/65x18
Maxi rain Michelin B 20/65x18
Michelin has a total staff of 32 in Corsica. The total number of covers available for the event is 3,600 carried in 12 semi-trailer workshops. All are fitted with Michelin's ATS system (Appui Temporaire Souple). These figures do not include those teams supplied and serviced by Michelin France.
Michelin's WRC partners in Corsica:
FORD MOTOR CO. LTD: Colin McRae/Nicky Grist (GB/GB) ; Carlos Sainz/Luis Moya (E/E)
MARLBORO MITSUBISHI RALLIART: Tommi Makinen/Risto Mannisenmaki (FIN/FIN) ; Freddy Loix/Sven Smeets (D/D)
PEUGEOT SPORT: Franois Delecour/Daniel Grataloup (F/F); Gilles Panizzi/Herve Panizzi(F/F); Marcus Gronholm/Timo Rautiainen (FIN/FIN)
HYUNDAI MOTORSPORT: Kenneth Eriksson/Stafan Parmander (S/S); Alister McRae/David Senior (GB/GB) <pre> World Championship Provisional positions after 10 rounds
DRIVERS MC S EAK P E RA GR NZ FIN CY F I AUS GB Total
Marcus Gronholm (FIN) M 0 10 0 6 2 6 0 10 10 0 - - - - 44
Colin McRae (GB) M 0 4 0 0 10 0 10 6 6 6 - - - - 42
Richard Burns (GB) 0 2 10 10 6 10 0 0 0 3 - - - - 41
Carlos Sainz (E) M 6 0 3 4 4 0 6 4 0 10 - - - - 37
Tommi Makinen (FIN) M 10 6 0 0 3 4 0 0 3 2 - - - - 28
Juha Kankkunen (FIN) 4 1 6 0 0 3 4 0 0 0 - - - - 18
MANUFACTURERS MC S EAK P E RA GR NZ FIN CY F I AUS GB Total
Ford-Michelin M 6 4 3 4 14 0 16 10 6 16 - - - - 79
Subaru 4 5 16 10 6 13 4 0 2 4 - - - - 64
Peugeot-Michelin M 0 11 0 9 3 6 2 10 13 4 - - - - 58
Mitsubishi-Michelin M 12 6 0 2 3 6 0 0 4 2 - - - - 35
Skoda-Michelin M 1 - 3 1 0 - 3 - - 0 - - - - 8
Seat 3 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - - - - 7
Hyundai-Michelin M 0 - 0 0 1 0 3 1 - - - - - 5
M Michelin partner
2000 CALENDAR: MC (Monte Carlo, 20-22/1), S (Sweden, 10-13/2), EAK (Safari, 24-27/2), P (Portugal, 16-19/3), E (Catalonia, 30/3-2/4), RA (Argentina, 11-14/5), GR (Acropolis, 8-11/6), NZ (New Zealand, 13-16/7), FIN (Finland, 17-20/8), CY (Cyprus, 7-10/9), F (Tour of Corsica, 28/9-1/10), I (Sanremo, 19-22/10), AUS (Australia, 9-12/11), GB (Great Britain, 23-26/11).