Michelin’s rally manager Arnaud Rémy has outlined the firm’s rallying plans beyond the end of this season – the conclusion of its current period of World Rally Championship involvement.
The Clermont-Ferrand-based company missed out on the tender to supply control tires to WRC crews for the next four years, with Pirelli instead winning the tender to service WRC, WRC2 and Junior WRC.
Rémy told DirtFish: “We are going to be out of WRC, but Michelin does not plan to stop rally activities. In fact rallying is the most important [activity] regarding visibility and communication and volume from the factory for Michelin.
“But in terms of volume, the WRC was only very small – it was only 5% of our volume. Being away from the WRC means we will be able to focus on other rallying activities on other continents.
“Before now, we were so focused on WRC we don’t have resources to go and do anything else, but now we can go to South America to North America where things are growing again and to the Middle East and Asia Pacific.
“Of course we will work again more in the European Rally Championship where we see the potential to supply more private drivers.”
Rémy denied there had been any kind of drop-off in development of new product. He added: “We are going to launch a brand-new Tarmac range for Rally2 cars at the start of next year and this will create us a lot of a lot of opportunities on the rally side.”
Michelin has been a constant in WRC since the end of Pirelli’s last stint as a control tire supplier in 2011. Prior to that Michelin briefly ran its WRC campaign through the BF Goodrich brand, but otherwise, Michelins have been present for 41 of the 48 WRC seasons since the series’ inception in 1973.
“Of course,” said Rémy, “we are going to miss the WRC. But we have this opportunity to go elsewhere now.”