Supercars teams facing strategic dilemma in Sydney

Dunlop hopes the mixed compound tyre rules will create a strategic dilemma for Supercars teams to try and best solve at Sydney Motorsport Park this weekend.

Supercars teams facing strategic dilemma in Sydney
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In a bid to create interest across four consecutive events on the same circuit, Supercars has thrown a number of different tyre rules into the equation for the SMP quadruple header.

After limiting each driver to five sets of soft compound Dunlops from first qualifying onwards last weekend, this weekend the hard compound is set to come into play.

As well as five sets of softs, drivers will also have three sets of the hard compound at their disposal as well.

They will be forced to use the slower rubber as well, with the rules stating drivers must use both compounds in each race (unless wet weather intervenes).

That means all stops will be for four tyres, while teams will need to decide whether to try and make ground early on the softs and then defend on the hards in the second stint, or take their hards medicine early and come home strong on the softs.

The starting compound has to be nominated in writing at least half an hour before the start of each of the three races.

Starting position is likely to play a big role in the decision-making, while any Safety Car intervention could be costly, particularly for those starting on the soft.

According to Dunlop's Supercars boss Kevin Fitzsimons, the plans is that there is no clear right or wrong way to go about it and a number of different strategies should come into play.

"That's why the engineers get paid the big bucks, they've got to make the decisions," he told Motorsport.com.

"At the end of the day, you can't bargain on there being a Safety Car – because that will burn you if you put the soft on at the start to try and get a gap.

"Guys might look at it in the way that clean air is worth time. You keep hearing the term aero wash, so there is benefit to running in clean air. But if you roll the dice and the Safety Car comes out, it will screw you – because you'll lose the advantage you've built up.

"You want the car to be quick at the end, it's just how quick do you want it to be. Do you pit with12 laps to go? There were guys last weekend that ran 25 laps [on the softs] at a set pace and the performance was pretty good.

"Do you drive at eight-tenths for 25 laps? Or do you drive at 10-10ths for 12, 13, 15 laps and make a gain but eat your tyres?

"It's a funny place because the surface is a like a patchwork quilt, and it's a cheese grater. It grinds the rubber off the tyres. So pushing them very, very hard in the abrasive parts of the circuit certainly hurts you in the longevity game.

"I'm hoping we see lots of different strategies and everyone won't do the same thing."

On threat to a variety of strategies is wet weather, with Sunday's forecast particularly precarious for the evening race.

Meanwhile investigative work into what was cutting tyres during last Sunday's race at SMP hasn't turned up any clear answers.

Six cars suffered crescent-shaped cuts to their right-rears during the final of three sprints last weekend, including the Shell Ford of race winner Anton De Pasquale.

Dunlop and Supercars looked into the matter during the week but haven't been able to pin-point the cause of the issue.

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