2014 FIA World Rally Championship Round 6: Rally Italia Sardegna
The MICHELIN LATITUDE Cross H2 and S2 rise successfully to Sardinian challenge
Round six of the 2014 WRC, based in Alghero, northwest Sardinia, saw MICHELIN Motorsport’s partners benefit from a choice between the MICHELIN LATITUDE Cross H2 (hard compound) and S2 (soft).
The weekend’s menu featured more than 1,000km of road seconds and 372km of competitive action, including two attempts at Saturday’s Monte-Lerno (59.13km), one of the longest of this year’s championship. The tracks themselves varied from sandy to hard packed, along with sharp, half-buried rocks.
Thierry NEUVILLE and Nicolas GISOUL (Hyundai I20 WRC) chose the soft compound for Friday morning’s loop and topped the leaderboard after SS4 before a suspension problem dropped them down the order. The first day’s action closed with Finns Jari-Mari LATVALA and Miikka ANTTILA (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) in front, 22s clear of team-mates Sébastien OGIER/Julien INGRASSIA, and 33s ahead of Mads OSTBERG/Jonas ANDERSSON (Citroën DS3 WRC).
By Saturday evening, however, Sébastien OGIER was in control, ahead of OSTBERG and LATVALA who lost his lead when he damaged a wheel after clouting a rock. This provisional top three remained unchanged after Sunday’s four stages.
With the exception of the Hyundai drivers, all the crews chiefly opted for the MICHELIN LATITUDE Cross H2 meaning that both the hard and soft (S2) versions of Michelin’s WRC tyre were employed in the course of the Italian round.
“Technically speaking, Rally Italia Sardegna was a very complex event,” observed Jacques MORELLI, the manager of MICHELIN’s rally activities. “From Friday, which comprised two visits to a loop of four stages with only a remote – and therefore restricted – service halt in between, to Saturday, when drivers faced the same competitive distance as the previous day, but packed into just four stages, one of which was practically 60km in length [Monte-Lerno], our tyres faced an extreme test. In the heat of Saturday afternoon, and with the stage surfaces littered with sharp rocks exposed by the morning’s passes, both the MICHELIN LATITUDE Cross H2 and the S2 fulfilled their role perfectly, and that allowed the drivers to focus on their fighting without any tyre- related incidents, so that was very satisfying for us…”
MICHELIN on the WRC 2 podium
This year’s WRC-2 battle features four tyre manufacturers and some highly talented drivers. The class’s entry in Sardinia amounted to 26 cars, including seven equipped with MICHELIN tyres. Nasser AL-ATTIYAH and Giovanni BERNARCCHINI (MICHELIN-equipped FORD FIESTA RRC) pulled out a cushion of more than two minutes but were forced to retire when a wheel was ripped off the car in an accident second time through Monte-Lerno (SS13).
After an interesting scrap, the class win finally ended up in the hands of Italians Lorenzo BERTELLI/Mitia DOTTA (Ford Fiesta RRC), ahead of Frenchmen Sébastien CHARDONNET/Thibault DE LA HAYE (MICHELIN-equipped Citroën DS3 R5) and Bernardo SOUSA/Hugo MAGALHAES (Ford Fiesta RRC) from Portugal.
The next round of the 2014 FIA World Rally Championship will take teams to Poland (June 26-29), although four stages will be held in neighbouring Lithuania.
The MICHELIN LATITUDE Cross H2 and the MICHELIN LATITUDE Cross S2
Size: 205/65R15 (17/65-15)
Sidewall height: 133mm
Diameter: 15 inches
Tread pattern: asymmetric and directional (a left- and a right-hand side tyre)
Use: non-sealed surfaces
MICHELIN LATITUDE Cross ‘H2’: hard-wearing, aggressive surfaces, dry conditions, temperatures over 15°C
MICHELIN LATITUDE Cross ‘S2’: smooth gravel, wet or damp, temperatures up to 15° C
MICHELIN LATITUDE Cross ‘H2’: Mexico, Portugal, Italy, Australia and Spain
MICHELIN LATITUDE Cross ‘S2’: Argentina, Poland, Finland and Great Britain
Number of tyres available for the 2014 Rally Italia Sardegna: 1,180
Number of tyres that can be used by WRC1 drivers: 25 for the event (five tyre-change opportunities) + 4 for shakedown
Number of tyres that can be used by WRC2 drivers: 20 for the event (five tyre-change opportunities) + 4 for shakedown
Allocation for each RC1 driver:
- 29 MICHELIN LATITUDE Cross H2s
- 16 MICHELIN LATITUDE Cross S2s
Allocation for each RC2 driver:
- 24 MICHELIN LATITUDE Cross H2s
- 16 MICHELIN LATITUDE Cross S2s
Michelin and the 2014 Rally Italia-Sardegna
For round six of the 2014 FIA World Rally Championship, MICHELIN’s total staff amounted to 13:
- 1 manager
- 3 Michelin team advisors
- 9 fitters
- 1 press officer
The 1,180 MICHELIN LATITUDE Cross H2 and S2 tyres and the team’s equipment were trucked to Sardinia. Tyres were stored and working facilities were set up in a marquee in the service park.