Volkswagen secures Michelin’s 23rd Manufacturers’ title, after a particularly challenging event for tyres
After making sure of the Drivers’ and Co-drivers’ crowns with Sébastien OGIER and Julien INGRASSIA at the Rallye de France-Alsace earlier this month, Volkswagen wrapped up the 2013 FIA WRC Manufacturers’ crown in Spain today, with one round remaining. It is the German make’s first such title in world class rallying and extends MICHELIN’s World Rally Championship record to 262 victories, 21 Drivers’ titles and 23 Manufacturers’ titles since 1973.
It has been a faultless maiden FIA WRC campaign for MICHELIN’s partner Volkswagen. The Polo R WRC and the French firm’s tyres functioned extremely well together from the start of the season, on all the different types of surface visited by the championship. The collaboration between the two companies was also of a very high level.
“I would like to congratulate Jost CAPITO and everyone at Volkswagen Motorsport on behalf of Michelin. We are very proud to have contributed to their success,” said Jacques MORELLI, manager of the Clermont Ferrand-based firm’s rally programmes. “It is no mean achievement to have won the FIA WRC at first attempt.”
The talent of the German team and its drivers harvested a one-two finish at this weekend’s RallyRACC – Rally de Espana 2013, a complex and highly varied event that was won by the new world champions Sébastien OGIER and Julien INGRASSIA after a spectacular comeback. The French pair fell foul to the Spanish event’s challenging stages on Saturday morning when they damaged their Polo R WRC’s front-left wheel, and the incident saw them fall 46.5 seconds from the lead.
The asphalt stages of the event’s first two days were particularly abrasive, while the technique of corner-cutting led to frequent wheel damage. All the drivers chose to fit hard-compound MICHELIN PILOT Sport H2 tyres for these tests, with just one spare in the boot. The resulting weight-saving permitted a gain of approximately two-tenths of a second per kilometres, but it also meant that they declined the possibility of having two fresh tyres for the longer stages. However, although some covers showed signs of significant wear at the end of the competitive loops, there was no adverse effect on performance.
Then, on Sunday’s loose stages, the MICHELIN LATITUDE Cross H2 gravel tyre had to contend with unusually high temperatures for this time of year in Catalonia. The sunny weather saw the thermometer climb to 28°C, yet the French tyres rose to the challenge without any problems, delivering the necessary blend of performance, strength and longevity to help Sébastien OGIER and Julien INGRASSIA clinch the victory.
The WRC2 battle saw former F1 racer Robert KUBICA and his co-driver Maciek BARAN (Citroën DS3 RRC) top the order to claim the category’s 2013 world title. “A big bravo to Robert who has shown this season that he has real potential, and also for his determination to continue competing at a very high level. Congratulations, too, to Citroën Racing on the success of its technology in the highly competitive WRC2 class,” concluded Jacques MORELLI.