2000 World Rally Championship
Round 10: Cyprus Rally (September 7th-10th 2000)
THE ACROPOLIS REVISITED!
While the final four rounds of the 2000 World Championship (Corsica, Sanremo, Australia, Great Britain) will take place to very familiar backdrops, the WRC regulars must first tackle an event that appears on the calendar for the first time this year, namely the Cyprus Rally. Nobody knows precisely just what the Mediterranean island holds in store, but everyone is expecting the conditions to be amongst the most difficult of the year.
With its rough and rocky stages and anticipated searing heat, the Cyprus Rally is widely viewed as a remake of the Greek mainland's Acropolis Rally, probably the toughest 'European style' round of the season. Until now?
It has to be said that the decision to bring in Cyprus as replacement for the cancelled China Rally was announced at a very late stage. Just under four months ago to be precise. This left teams and tyre manufacturers precious little time to prepare for the event in ideal conditions. Teams' pre-event testing, notably, was organised late in comparison with the usual timetable and, as far as tyres are concerned, decisions concerning final specifications had to be taken in a particularly short turnaround time.
Despite this context, and spurred on by the presence of its partners at the top of both the Drivers' and Manufacturers' tables (with Marcus Gronholm and Ford-Michelin), Michelin has risen to the challenge of Cyprus with customary professionalism, especially following its no-nonsense one-two finish over the Acropolis Rally's punishing, sun-baked stages last June.
For Michelin's WRC partners (Ford, Mitsubishi, Peugeot et Skoda), as well as for all the teams running on its tyres in Cyprus, that result in Greece will be a big encouragement for the three days of fast and furious competition that lay ahead.
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 Cypru In Cyprus, drivers can expect the same sort of difficulties that have helped forge the reputation of the Acropolis Rally, i.e. hard-packed, stone-covered, sun-baked stages. The fact that this event is completely new for all concerned, plus the extremely short timeframe for pre-event testing are two additional challenge
Michelin's solution - the same range that won in Greece
Aime Chatard, manager of Michelin's rallies programme:
* "It's true, the Cyprus rally promises to be very similar to Greece, notably in the domain of wear as far as tyres are concerned. Meanwhile, although temperatures will certainly be lower than they were during our pre-event testing on the island at the end of July/early August, we can expect them to be close to those recorded during last June's Acropolis Rally (34C).
* The biggest single difference of the Cyprus stages is that they are twistier on the whole, with frequent portions where drivers will rarely be out of 1st, 2nd or 3rd gears. The accent here will obviously be on optimising torque but these places will also be the toughest in terms of tyre wear, especially the two long grouped stages that are scheduled to be run twice (SS 5/6 and 13/14).
* In these conditions, the performance of our products on the Acropolis Rally (15 fastest times from 19 stages, and a one-two finish with Ford) is clearly highly encouraging. Both the Michelin Z and ZB patterns - very often re-cut according to driver preference to match the prevailing conditions - proved very satisfactory in Greece."
The tyre's importance in Cyprus, as seen by:
Freddy Loix (driver, Mitsubishi-Michelin)
"Obviously, until I get to recce the actual route just before the start, I don't know with any precision what the Cyprus stages are going to be like. However, the base we used for our test with Michelin at the end of July provided us with a number of useful pointers.
"First of all, the surfaces were hard packed and littered with stones, although they didn't seem to be any more aggressive than those of the Acropolis. On the other hand, the roads are extremely narrow and twisty, with very few places where you have to accelerate hard, except perhaps in the lower lying sections, generally at the start of stages.
"Especially after the way they performed in Greece, I have total confidence in the resistance of Michelin's tyres to punctures. However, the twisty nature of the stages means that wear is something we will probably have to watch.
"Personally, I am delighted with the prospect of tackling an event that all the World Championship regulars will have to learn from scratch. It's a situation I faced for something like 70% of the 1999 calendar. I'm starting to get the knack of it!"
Michelin's tyres for Cyprus
Prevailing conditions: Clear, hard ground
Type of tyre: Michelin Z
Theoretically the most suited dimension: L17/65x15
Technical descripton: The rigidity of the Michelin Z's tread blocks limits their mobility on aggressive stage surfaces.
These products are available in two compounds according to conditions: 9 (for warm weather) and 10 (for very hot weather and/or the harder wearing stages).
Rocky and/or hard wearing stages: Michelin ZB 17/65x15
Bold tread pattern and rigid tread blocks in order to limit their mobility on the most aggressive stage surfaces.
Michelin has a total staff of 24 in Cyprus. The total number of covers available for the event is 3,120 carried in 8 semi-trailer workshops. All are fitted with Michelin's ATS system (Appui Temporaire Souple).
Michelin's WRC partners in Cyprus:
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 (B/B)
François Delecour/Daniel Grataloup (F/F); Marcus Gronholm/Timo Rautiainen (FIN/FIN)
Armin Schwarz Manfred Hiemer (D/D); Luis Climent/Alex Romani (E/E)
<pre> Provisional positions after 9 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 - - - - - 44
Richard Burns (GB) 0 2 10 10 6 10 0 0 0 - - - - - 38
Colin McRae (GB) M 0 4 0 0 10 0 10 6 6 - - - - - 36
Carlos Sainz (E) M 6 0 3 4 4 0 6 4 0 - - - - - 27
Tommi Makinen (FIN) M 10 6 0 0 3 4 0 0 3 - - - - - 26
Juha Kankkunen (FIN) 4 1 6 0 0 3 4 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 - - - - - 63
Subaru 4 5 16 10 6 13 4 0 2 - - - - - 60
Peugeot-Michelin M 0 11 0 9 3 6 2 10 13 - - - - - 54
Mitsubishi-Michelin M 12 6 0 2 3 6 0 0 4 - - - - - 33
Skoda-Michelin M 1 - 3 1 0 - 3 - - - - - - - 8
Seat 3 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 - - - - - 7
Hyundai-Michelin M - 0 - 0 0 1 0 3 1 - - - - - 5
M Michelin partner - 2000 CALENDAR: 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).