2000 World Rally Championship
Round 12: Sanremo Rally (October 19th-22nd 2000)
CLOSER AND CLOSER AT THE TOP!
The closer we get to the end of the year, the closer the situation at the sharp end of the World Rally Championship points tables seems to become.
With just three rounds remaining before the end of what has proved an action-packed 2000 season, the four men still in the running for the Drivers' crown (Marcus Gronholm, Richard Burns, Colin McRae, Carlos Sainz) are split by a mere five points. That's practically level-pegging if you consider that Gronholm (Peugeot), Sainz (Ford) and McRae (Ford) were respectively 14, 21 and 24 points adrift of the provisional leader at the start of the summer!
This turnaround is directly linked with the recent run of uncompromising performances by Michelin's partners Ford and Peugeot who, between them, have monopolised the highest step of the podium since June's Acropolis Rally. Moreover, these wins have been achieved on all the types of stage surface visited by the championship, namely asphalt, smooth gravel and rough gravel. As a result, these two makes have today pulled clear at the top in the Manufacturers' standings, while Gronholm has taken the lead in the Drivers' leaderboard.
The situation remains extremely open, however, especially since a repeat in Sanremo of the asphalt pecking order seen two weeks ago in Corsica (a Peugeot-Michelin one-two with Gilles Panizzi and François Delecour) would once again deprive the Drivers' title candidates of a chance to finish in the big points. And with just two gravel rounds - Australia and Great Britain - remaining before the curtain comes down on the season, it would take a very brave man indeed to bet on the final outcome!
Last but not least; it's that time of year when a number of national rally championships are drawing to a close. So, with Sanremo this weekend hosting the world series, Michelin is especially pleased to have won what has proved a fiercely fought, high-level 2000 Italian Championship thanks to Piero Longhi and his Toyota Corolla WRC.
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 the Sanremo busy summer schedule and the proximity the of the Tour of Corsica and Sanremo's dates means that teams had to combine their pre-event testing for these rounds into a single session. Manufacturers and tyre companies have therefore had to extrapolate the data collected during these tests as a function of the subtle differences that distinguish these two asphalt rallies
Michelin's solution - experience and reactivity
, manager of Michelin's rallies programme:
"The proximity of the Tour of Corsica and the Sanremo left us with very little time for production prior to the Italian round. It should not be forgotten that producing the quantities of high performance tyres necessary for the teams we supply in the World Championship is a long and complex process.
"Happily, this year's new look Sanremo means we won't be using many different roads and that clearly simplified the analysis of the data collected during our pre-event tests. Also, even though there's a good chance the Sanremo will run in cooler conditions than those we had in Corsica, we should still be able to profit from the experience gained in France of certain new solutions we introduced there.
"Meanwhile, the difference between the lengths of the groups of stages will be sure to keep everyone on their toes in Italy. The first leg is effectively made up of four loops of 36km 'against the clock' compared with 53km groups the following day, including one significantly longer stage (38 km). Clearly, this has led us to develop two distinct products to meet the specific demands of these loops."
The tyre's importance in Sanremo, as seen by:
"Now the traditional narrow, dusty second leg based around Acqui Terme has been dropped, the stages used by this year's Sanremo Rally should be much more consistent in terms of grip. This means we will be able to define the car's set-up before prior to the start for the entire event and that will simplify life a bit.
"Having said that, although we know the roads very well, the precise characteristics and total lengths of the different groups of stages have been important factors in our preparation for this event.
"The excellent test work we put in with Michelin before Corsica gave us a lot of information from which it has been possible to extrapolate for the Italian round. The principal aim has been to optimise the car and tyre package as a whole.
"This is an area in which our work never stops, especially with the changes rally formats are currently undergoing. The cars are constantly evolving and the technology employed by Michelin is also moving forward all the time. The important thing is that both evolve together."
When the new Michelin FP (Fort Potentiel, or 'Strong Potential') was introduced on the Sanremo in October 1998, it stood out as the most sophisticated asphalt tyre in the World Championship. In total, this tyre and its different evolutions have so far won twice in Italy (1998, 1999), twice in Catalonia (1999, 2000) and twice in Corsica (1999, 2000).
Michelin's tyres in Sanremo <pre> 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.
Their 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 sidewall dimensions favour cornering stability.
The minimum sea-to-land ratio (grooves/tread) of the dry weather tyres is 17%.
Dry weather, 'normal temperatures (13C to 26C ground temp.) Michelin N22
* (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 asphalt Michelin TA03
* (base tyre) + TA0 Evolutions 20/65x18
Maxi rain Michelin B 20/65x18
Michelin has a total staff of 27 for the Sanremo. The total number of covers available for the event is 3,800 carried in 10 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 Italy.
Michelin's WRC partners in Sanremo:
FORD MOTOR CO. LTD: Colin McRae/Nicky Grist (GB/GB); Carlos Sainz/Luis Moya (E/E) ; Piero Liatti/Carlo Cassina (I/I)
MARLBORO MITSUBISHI RALLIART: Tommi Makinen/Risto Mannisenmaki (FIN/FIN); Freddy Loix/Sven Smeets (B/B)
PEUGEOT SPORT: François Delecour/Daniel Grataloup (F/F); Marcus Gronholm/Timo Rautiainen (FIN/FIN); Gilles Panizzi/Herve Panizzi (F/F)
HYUNDAI MOTORSPORT: Kenneth Eriksson/Staffan Parmander (S/S); Alister McRae/David Senior (GB/GB)
SKODA MOTOR SPORT: Armin Schwarz/Manfred Hiemer (D/D) ; Luis Climent/Alex Romani (E/E)
World Rally Championship Provisional standings after 11 rounds
DRIVERS MC S EAK P E RA GR NZ FIN CY F I AUS GB Total Marcus Gronholm (FIN) 0 10 0 6 2 6 0 10 10 0 2 - - - 46 Richard Burns (GB) 0 2 10 10 6 10 0 0 0 3 3 - - - 44 Colin McRae (GB) 0 4 0 0 10 0 10 6 6 6 0 - - - 42 Carlos Sainz (E) 6 0 3 4 4 0 6 4 0 10 4 - - - 41 Tommi Makinen (FIN) 10 6 0 0 3 4 0 0 3 2 0 - - - 28
MANFACTURERS MC S EAK P E RA GR NZ FIN CY F I AUS GB Total Ford-Michelin 6 4 3 4 14 0 16 10 6 16 4 - - - 83 Peugeot-Michelin 0 11 0 9 3 6 2 10 13 4 16 - - - 74 Subaru 4 5 16 10 6 13 4 0 2 4 5 - - - 69 Mitsubishi-Michelin 12 6 0 2 3 6 0 0 4 2 0 - - - 35 Seat 3 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 - - - 8 Skoda-Michelin 1 - 3 1 0 - 3 0 - 0 - - - - 8 Hyundai-Michelin - 0 - 0 0 1 0 3 1 - 0 - - - 5