ERJ staff report (TP)
Monte Carlo, Monaco − DMACK, the British independent tire manufacturer, kick started the new 2014 FIA World Rally Championship season “in style” after overcoming some tough winter weather conditions on this weekend’s iconic Rallye Monte Carlo.
DMACK said its range of four asphalt competition tires, specifically designed for the event, helped competitors safely master a mix of extreme conditions – from snow and ice to torrential rain.
Heavy snowfall on the final day’s action saw one of the most hotly-anticipated stages cancelled as some crews became stuck in the snow as they struggled to make the top of the pass. However, Irish asphalt ace Robert Barrable sealed a WRC 2 podium on his Monte Carlo debut using DMACK tires to finish third in the series after 384km of competition across three days.
Rallye Monte Carlo traditionally delivers a mix of tough conditions which match the technically challenging asphalt mountain roads across the Haute-Alpes region in southern France. The stage construction means that crews can face sun-kissed dry roads on one side of the mountain but hit snow and ice as the terrain changes.
Tire choice on the Monte is never an easy or a correct decision – but usually a compromise based on the current and predicted conditions. At every service there’s constant and last minute deliberations concerning the tire choice for the next loop of stages – with crews opting for a mix of different patterns to cover the mixed conditions.
DMACK nominated four different tires for the rally. Its winter tire, the DMT-ICE, was available in un-studded and studded form. Each studded tire was equipped with nearly 200 metal pins to bite into the frozen ice and snow.
For dry and damp asphalt roads, crews opted for the DMT-RC tire with DMACK nominating two compounds – the soft S3 and the super soft XS3.
It was this range, and DMACK’s “significant” technical experience from previous editions of the event, which helped runners master the tough conditions. Right from the start of the opening stage near Gap on Thursday (16 January), competitors faced a mix of snow, slush, ice and rain for the two days of action around the new rally base.
On Friday (17 January) night crews and teams moved 300km south to Monaco where Saturday’s (18 January) final-day action was based. The tough loop of four stages provided a snowy sting in the tail with the second pass over the legendary Col de Turini stage cancelled after some cars became stuck in the heavy snow. The other tests suffered from hazardous standing water after torrential rain turned the roads into rivers.
However, DMACK said it was both “happy and encouraged” with the performance of its tires – mastering the range of extreme conditions and allowing competitors to safely and competitively start their season in style.
Dick Cormack, DMACK motorsport director, said: “Monte Carlo always throws up a range of hugely demanding conditions but our experience of the event from the last three years has allowed DMACK to supply drivers with a resilient range of winter tires. Each tire has performed well, we’ve had no issues or punctures so it has definitely been a strong start to the season for us.”
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Press release from DMACK