The MICHELIN LATITUDE Cross S3 masters the slippery Welsh forests
Wales Rally GB, the final round of the 2013 FIA World Rally Championship, lived up to its reputation as one of the most complex events of the season. The mud and extremely slippery Welsh forest tracks proved a gruelling test for the drivers, but the soft-compound MICHELIN LATITUDE Cross S3 enabled them to produce some outstanding performances and put on an exciting show for spectators.
This is an event that traditionally throws rain, wind, fog and sometimes even snow at competitors, but this year’s weather conditions proved less delicate than expected. Even so, the sky remained threatening and the temperatures were chilly throughout, and the absence of rain had a direct influence on team strategies since the crews had to contend with big differences in the amount of grip they encountered compared to what they had come across during their rainy recce earlier in the week. More difficult still was the thin layer of mud that coated the rocky base and made it as slippery as if it were covered in a layer of wet moss.
Despite these unpredictable and constantly shifting conditions, the crews were able to count on the consistency, performance and grip of their MICHELIN LATITUDE Cross S3 tyres. Sébastien OGIER (winner, Volkswagen Motorsport): “There really wasn’t much grip on the stages, and the little grip that was available was inconsistent. The first passes proved very delicate because of all the slippery mud on the driving line. You just had to choose a line and stay on it if you wanted to post a competitive time. The second passes were even more of a challenge. After the cars had been through once, the hard-packed roads became incredibly slippery in places where the stony base was now covered in a film of packed dirt. Thankfully, our MICHELIN tyres were perfectly suited to the situation and delivered the necessary grip and responsiveness to permit some fast times and I was always able to push that little bit harder whenever I wanted to. This year’s Wales Rally GB was all about knowing where to lift just enough not to go off the road for good…”
The world champion’s words were echoed by those of Jacques MORELLI, manager of MICHELIN’s rally programmes: “I would obviously like to congratulate Sébastien OGIER on his brilliant performance which brings an exceptional season for him and our partner Volkswagen Motorsport to a successful end. I would also like to underline the job done by the MICHELIN LATITUDE Cross S3 and how well it stood up to the punishment that this year’s Wales Rally GB threw at it. Add water and mud to the stone- and slate-covered stages and you get a particularly aggressive mix, and it was important to protect against the risk of sharp rocks slashing the tyres. At the end of the day, though, our partners didn’t suffer any punctures whatsoever. I believe that speaks volumes for the hard work put in by MICHELIN’s developers ahead of the 2013 season. The regulations for this year were very demanding because of the lower tyre quotas per event, yet all our solutions rose to their mission to provide our partners with an exceptionally high level of overall performance.”