POLE POSITION FOR MICHELIN AT MONZA Peugeot and Michelin today claimed their second pole position of the Le Mans Series season during qualifying on the Italian circuit of Monza, It was the Marc Gene / Nicolas Minassian combination that topped...
POLE POSITION FOR MICHELIN AT MONZA
Peugeot and Michelin today claimed their second pole position of the Le Mans Series season during qualifying on the Italian circuit of Monza, It was the Marc Gene / Nicolas Minassian combination that topped the time sheets ahead of the second Peugeot 908 Hdi FAP (n 8).
The LMP2 category was won by Merksteijn/Verstappen's Porsche RS Spyder, while in GT1 the Luc Alphand Aventures Team set the class-leading time.
Matthieu Bonardel, Director of Four-wheel Competition
"At the end of this qualifying session, my initial reaction is that we came with a range of tyres that are perfectly suited to the Monza circuit. The three types of tyres that we have brought for the prototypes have all been tried and none have been rejected.
The soft tyre definitely brings a little more in terms of grip and performance, however, it tends to over-use the left, because of the layout of this circuit. This choice will not make the possibility of double-stinting very easy.
The hard compound, although a little slower, gives consistency and stability at high speeds, which is of paramount importance in Monza.
In the end, it is our medium compound that offers the best compromise. This tyre was overwhelmingly favoured by the teams. It was better than the soft compound on the fast parts of the track and is quicker than the hard tyre on the slow sections. It seems ideally balanced and operates over a large temperature range. There is a good chance of our using it for double-stinting with several teams. However, team strategies will play their part in the final decisions.
Finally, some teams have tried to mix different compounds across the right and left, but this is not an ideal solution at this circuit. Monza's long straights tend to even out the other constraints. Therefore this is not an obvious choice this weekend.
In the LMP2 category the choice between soft and medium tyres was pretty straightforward and in the end there will be a pretty even split between the teams. We are very hopeful that we can double-stint with almost all the cars in this category. That said, this is a conclusion drawn by looking at tyre wear during practice, which is very different from race conditions. We must therefore be careful.
In GT1 there are two choices of compounds, medium and hard. Both types will be used tomorrow in the race. It looks like the medium compound may come up a little short to consider double- stinting, but the hard tyre seems perfectly capable. We will therefore have to see how teams play out their race strategies tomorrow. "
Olivier Panis, Oreca-Matmut driver
How do you choose between the soft and medium tyres?
"We start by carrying out tests between the three compounds that are available to us to work out what the differences in performance are. Then, even if we have a favourite, we wait to hear what the Michelin engineers have to say, because they are the ones who can tell us if we will be able to double-stint or not in the race, depending on the wear rates. Drivers often make their choice based purely on feeling without taking performance into account.
Is the opinion of the Michelin Engineer essential?
"Absolutely. It is only through the analysis of Michelin's engineers that we can make our choice of tyres for the race, because they take the parameter of endurance into account. The Michelin guys have a fantastic understanding of endurance racing and only they can tell us how a tyre will behave and how reliable it will be during a race. The aim is to cover the 1000km with the best possible grip!
Is double-stinting a priority in Endurance?
"It's true that we do not lose so much time in tyre changes these days, because the teams have made a lot of progress in this area. However, if we can double-stint, we can save 20 seconds, and that's not to be sniffed at! You just have to be sure that at the end of the second stint the performance and lap times are the same and that you haven't therefore lost the benefit of double- stinting.