by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
GP Week : Issue 176
RALLY >>> NEWS Confirmation that 29 year-old Dani Sordo is to rejoin the Citroen Racing’s world rally championship team for an unspecified number of rounds in the 2013 WRC series means that he is to leave Prodrive’s troubled Mini team. Joining the team as their regular driver when the Mini John Cooper Works WRC cars was homologated during 2011, he contested 14 events for the Prodrive team but suffered from constant changes in event planning. Sordo’s top WRC results were impressive second places in France 2011 and Monte Carlo 2012, and on a stand-alone appearance in the IRC, scored an impressive victory in a Super 2000 version Mini on the Tour de Corse. He leaves the team having proved in Catalunya Rally that the Mini was the fastest car in the event with six fastest times, more than either Sebastien Loeb’s Citroen or Latvala’s Ford. He returns to Citroen with unfinished business to fulfill. On no fewer than 17 occasions he has finished a world championship rally in second place – yet never scored a WRC victory. "If I don't win rallies in 2013, I'll want to stop rallying" Sordo is reported to have said to Spanish enthusiasts. At the moment the agreement is believed to be for a single season, for 11 of the 13 rallies. Many aspects of Citroen’s 2013 WRC plans still remain to announced, notably which Citroen driver will enter which events, and the details of the sponsorship agreement with Abu Dhabi and the livery of their cars. The intriguing speculation concerns whether team orders would be issued if it is in Sordo’s championship interests to enhance his position in the results, at the expense of part-time driver Sebastien Loeb, thus avenging the experience of many occasions during the five years that Loeb and Sordo were teammates and Loeb was allowed to win. SORDO: LEAVING PRODRIVE FOR CITROEN RETURN Even before the start of the 2012 Rally Catalunya, the final round of the world championship, Michelin declared their plans for 2013, when new tyre rules are due to come into operation. Pascal Couasnon, the Director of Michelin Competition, said: “The new regulations will result in fewer tyres being available for each event. Drivers of course don’t want to see any fall-off in speed, so our overriding objective was to extend tyre life without affecting performance. “To reconcile these opposing demands, Michelin’s development specialists were forced to innovate and, for gravel rounds, they have produced a new generation ‘Michelin Latitude Cross’ model gravel tyre which will be available in the usual two versions: the hard compound ‘H2’ and the soft-compound ‘S2’. These tyres will feature a symmetrical tread pattern. For asphalt, we have developed an evolution of the Michelin Pilot Sport asphalt tyre which will also be available in two versions: the ‘H2’ and the ‘S2’.” Asymmetric tread pattern tyres have been a feature of world championship rallying since their introduction at Sanremo in 1990, so why the step into retroland? Jacques Morelli, Michelin's rally tyre manager, explains: “First of all I think we find a way to make a good pattern which seems to work well and which is also more easy logistically. That is the reason for the change in tread pattern and we will now use a symmetry tyre. “Next year it will only be possible to change only four, not five, tyres at the service point, so that is one of the reasons. When you only take one spare assymetric tyre it can only be used on one side or the other; it limits the choice of which side you place the tyre. “When you get the puncture, that is a problem. You did not decide which side you got the puncture! So all in all symmetric pattern tyres in future are going to be more easy. “We also have to design the sidewall to ensure that fitting the tyres is now safer. This is a new regulation of the FIA. Now we can only inflate the tyres up to 8bar pressure maximum so we have to make something which fits easier and fully on the rim” . Dick Cormack (the DMack chief) explained: “sometimes you have to blow the existing tyres up to 15bar which is quite dangerous, especially for the wheels on which they are being fitted. It means that for next year we have to change the design of bead profile.” BACK TO THE FUTURE: SYMMETRY FOR MICHELIN 15 GPWEEK.com // 15 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: