2017 WRC - Poland - The MICHELIN LTX Force S5 tire in control on Poland’s dirt tracks
The 2017 Rally Poland will be remembered for the appalling weather and storms that swept over the country’s Mikolajki region prior to the start and compelled the organisers to cancel Thursday’s official send-off ceremony. There was copious rain, too, for the first day of action on Friday which made life complex for the crews who faced further mud on the final morning, Sunday.
Despite the adverse conditions, the cars still reached average speeds of almost 125kph on the high-speed yet narrow tracks, with top speeds in excess of 200kph in places. Only late-July’s Rally Finland witnesses such fast stages.
The total length of this year’s Rally Poland, which was based once more in the beautiful Masurian Lake District, was 1,422.63km, including 23 stages that totalled 338.34km.
The sandy ground visited by the event counts amongst the softest of the championship, yet the compact surface crust can soon become rutted, and mud was another problem this year. Thankfully, Michelin’s WRC partners were able to count on the services of the soft-compound MICHELIN LTX Force S5 tire which, thanks to its broader operating window, was the weekend’s nominated and was selected from start to finish. Similarly, the French brand’s WRC2 crews opted for the soft MICHELIN Latitude Cross S80 tire.
“First of all, I would like to congratulate Thierry Neuville on his victory today and Ott Tanak on his great run which contributed to the fight that kept us entertained for more than 20 stages before his off on the last morning,” said Jacques Morelli, the manager of Michelin’s WRC programme. “The new MICHELIN LTX Force S5 tire, which was launched in time for March’s Rally Mexico, where it excelled despite the heat, delivered superior performance once again on this weekend’s wet sand in temperatures that failed to reach 20°C. It also showcased its versatility in Argentina and Portugal and its window is so wide that our partners are increasingly favouring it over the harder MICHELIN LTX Force H4 tire which was developed to cater for the demands of Rally Italia Sardegna, which is the hardest round of the season for tires. The MICHELIN LTX Force S5 tire is emerging as one of the success stories of the 2017 WRC.”
The 2017 Rally Poland was won by Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul, ahead of Hyundai i20 WRC team-mates Hayden Paddon/Sébastien Marshall. M-Sport’s Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (3rd, Ford Fiesta WRC) made it another all-Michelin podium.
There was one-two success for Michelin in WRC2, too, thanks to Skoda Fabia R5 crews Christian Veiby/Stig Rune Skjaermoen and Pontus Tidemand/Jonas Andersson.