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December 3rd, 2010
Michelin competition director Nick Shorrock has urged fellow tyre firms to return to the World Rally Championship to provide more competition in the future.
Michelin and nascent Chinese-made brand DMack are the only two tyre companies contesting next season’s WRC, but Shorrock said he hopes more will come in the future.
Pirelli has admitted it is considering a return in 2012 and Hankook is also believed to be evaluating further rally programmes.
“The more competition the better in the WRC, that’s absolutely our position,” Shorrock said.
“We want more than to be a sole supplier of tyres, some people might be happy with that, but that’s not Michelin’s position. Competition is the perfect laboratory for us to prepare our tyres and I can’t think of a better place to compare yourself against other manufacturers than the 13 rounds of the World Rally Championship.”
Shorrock admitted he had enjoyed the competitive element of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, where Michelin, running as BFGoodrich, faced Pirelli.
“We did the whole IRC last year and we are the champion,” he said. “But we didn’t win all of the rallies and we have to accept that one or two times there was a hiccup.
“We have to accept that the competition is here as well, but that is what makes competition great, the constant fight is the basis of competition and that’s what we want in the WRC.”
Michelin has already committed to its gravel and asphalt tyre for next year’s WRC and will soon be doing the same with the snow tyre for next year’s WRC opener in Sweden.
Mini has tested the gravel and asphalt tyre and Prodrive technical director David Lapworth said he was pleased with the results.
“The tyres have been very good,” said Lapworth. “They’re what we expected and we have tested them in a range of conditions. We’re pleased. The asphalt tyre is quite different, with a different [part dry/part wet] tread pattern, but it works well.”