Senior figures in the World Rally Championship are confident there will be no repeat of the final morning puncture-fest which turned last month’s Rally Turkey on its head in Sardinia this week.
Michelin’s rally manager Arnaud Rémy has already confirmed to DirtFish that the tire issues which struck in Marmaris were caused by car set-up as much as the rough conditions.
“The teams,” Rémy said, “have to reduce the quantity of energy put on the rim and tires and maybe work on the suspension [set-up] to absorb more energy through the suspension. When you put a very tough constraint on the tires and the [wheel] rims then sometimes something has to be the fall guy and in Turkey it was the rims.
“For three years we have a discussion with the teams and on how we can improve our tires and all the teams said not to reinforce the tires more. They told us the tires are so strong the cars will break from another part and that’s what we saw [in Turkey].”
Toyota Gazoo Racing team principal Tom Fowler said Sunday morning in Turkey offered freak conditions.
“Every now and then we see a really rough rally,” Fowler told DirtFish. “We saw it in México a few years ago and it comes when the organizers make these heavy repairs to the roads using big rocks that get pulled out to leave these football-sized [rocks] around.
“Really, Sardinia’s not as bad as Turkey was. I don’t think we can expect as many punctures this week.
“Don’t forget, the visibility thing was an issue in Turkey. The best drivers have this ability, this extra percentage, where they can go at the maximum pace and keep an eye on what’s on the side of the road, and know precisely where the rear wheel’s going to go – but then when you add dust into the equation, then the drivers simply can’t see those rocks.”