WRC 2018 - Argentine - The MICHELIN LTX Force S5 and H4 tires play complementary roles in Argentina
The 2018 Rally Argentina – which featured an overall distance of more than 1,300 kilometres, including 18 special stages totalling 358km – saw victory go to Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC). The Estonians were joined on the podium by Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) and Dani Sordo/Carlos Del Barrio (Hyundai i20 WRC) who made it an all-Michelin podium.
The event lived up every bit to its reputation as the trickiest round of the 2018 FIA WRC, with a cocktail of buried rocks, deep ruts and persistent fog that put both the crews and their cars to a truly challenging test. Michelin’s partners, however, were able to take advantage of the performance and strength of their tyres which continued to deliver even after losing air pressure, as testified by Kris Meeke (Citroën C3 WRC) after Stage 8. “I picked up a front-left puncture with six kilometres to go, but I was still able to complete the stage without stopping,” reported the British driver. “Thank you, Michelin!”
In addition to the contribution they made to competitor safety, Michelin’s tyres also stood out through the perfect way the operating windows of the soft- and hard-compound variants dovetailed each other over the three-day competition. Indeed, crews preferred the former for the morning runs before often switching to the harder alternative (or else mixing the two) for the afternoon loops, aided in their strategies by the recommendations of their respective Michelin technical advisors.
Once again, this year’s Rally Argentina earned its reputation as a tough rally, with stages that became increasingly rutted, throwing up some pretty sharp stones in the process. On top of that, the weather wasn’t on our side either and this seemed to undermine the drivers’ morale and confidence. Thankfully, the soft-compound MICHELIN LTX Force S5 allowed them to focus on going as fast as possible without having to worry about their tyres. Those who opted for the harder LTX Force H4 for Friday’s repeat runs based their choice on the probability of warmer temperatures and the likelihood of chewed up stages in the afternoon. In the end, the H4 and S5 versions both held up well and, we are pleased to say, made a real contribution to the quality of the show to which the spectators were treated thanks to the combination of performance and safety they deliver.
The WRC2 spoils went to Skoda Fabia R5 Swedish pair Tidemand/Andersson, ahead of Briton Greensmith/Parry (Ford Fiesta R5). Third place went to Argentinian pair Heller/Olmos, whose Ford Fiesta R5 was also fitted with MICHELIN Latitude Cross S80 and H90 tyres.
Round 6 of the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship will take teams to Portugal on May 17-20.