Tour de Corse: BFGoodrich preview

The BFGoodrich g-Force Profiler: the longitudinal and lateral force controller! BFGoodrich will be looking to profit from the 2006 Rallye de France-Tour de Corse to prove itself worthy of the French tyre group's exceptional record on ...

The BFGoodrich g-Force Profiler: the longitudinal and lateral force controller!

BFGoodrich will be looking to profit from the 2006 Rallye de France-Tour de Corse to prove itself worthy of the French tyre group's exceptional record on the Mediterranean island. For the brand to male its mark on the 50th running of this WRC classic would clearly stand out as a landmark date in BFGoodrich's competition history, but it's no secret that success on Corsica's asphalt is no easy matter.

With the first quarter of the 2006 WRC season already behind it, the situation this far could hardly be more positive for BFGoodrich which counts two wins to its name with Ford and Marcus Gronholm, and a further two with Kronos Total Citroen and Sebastien Loeb. On top of that, these four victories were obtained on four very different types of terrain.

"I would like to profit from this quarterly review to congratulate and thank our teams and drivers, and in particular our Privateer partners. With a capital 'P'," says BFGoodrich's Rallies Programme Manager Aime Chatard. "Between them, Alexandre Bengue, Jan Kopecky and even Francois Duval provided much of the excitement in Spain, while Toni Gardemeister finished 3rd in Monte Carlo. I would like to thank all four drivers, who are of as many different nationalities, for their confidence in BFGoodrich and their contribution to the sport's notoriety in this year of transition. Indeed, notoriety is the reason for BFGoodrich's commitment to the discipline."

BFGoodrich supplies its works and privately-entered partners with the same products, while the tests it carries out with the factory teams also benefit the privateers. "The only difference concerns the quota system. Drivers entered in the Manufacturer 1 & 2 championships must nominate a pre-defined number of tyres before each event. However, the privateers are not concerned by this system. That can have an incidence if the weather conditions prove changeable," points out Aime Chatard.

"It is also important to remember that BFGoodrich has responded favourably to requests to carry out a number of test sessions with the private teams since the beginning of the season. Unlike those we undertake with the factory teams, these sessions tend to be organised at the last minute. For example, before the Rally Catalunya, BFGoodrich organised no fewer than eight test sessions with its privateer partners during the ten days prior to the event. The team at BFGoodrich had to be particularly reactive, not only its staff but in terms of production and logistics, etc. too."

There are also tests and tests. Those carried out with private teams are not particularly beneficial to the tyre firm. They are above all aimed at getting to know the car and fine-tune its set-up. The purpose of genuine tyre tests for BFGoodrich is to validate new evolutions, which calls for optimized cars and a selective, known test base?


"This will be my fifth Tour of Corsica but I've only finished it once which goes to show how tough an event it is. In my view, you need a relatively soft set-up to cope with the unevenness of the Corsican asphalt. You can run quite a low ride height though because you don't cut corners to the extent that you do in Spain. The twisty stages mean the tyres need to be very responsive, but above all they need to be durable. In fact you can run a slightly harder compound because managing wear is vital. Understeer is obviously out of the question, otherwise the tyres would never last the distance."


QUOTA -- The individual quota for drivers entered in the Manufacturer 1 and 2 championships is 70 tyres, of which a maximum of 45 may actually be used (rally + shakedown). Two tread patterns are authorised. The tyre nomination cut-off date is/was April 3.

NO RESPITE -- With the repeated, incessant cornering, weight transfer, braking, re-acceleration, negative 'g's and wheelspin caused by the twisty Corsican stages -- which run on relatively abrasive and often cut-up asphalt in places -- the tyres never get a chance to rest, yet they have to stay precise and offer good traction throughout.

60km -- The route is divided into three legs of two groups of two stages each. Each group is approximately 60km long. Tyre choices are made between one and three hours before stages start. And in Corsica, early April, conditions can evolve from one half hour to the next? and even from one valley to the next.

BFGOODRICH: JWRC SPONSOR -- Corsica is the third round of the 2006 Junior World Rally Championship after Sweden (won by P.J. Andersson) and Spain (Martin Prokop). As partner of the JWRC, BFGoodrich recently signed a deal with the organisers of the series to put up an end-of-season prize-fund of ?50,000 for the best-placed competitors.


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Series WRC
Teams Citroën World Rally Team