It was a toasty 12.2°F at the 10,000-foot summit of Pizzo di Coca on Monday morning.
Admittedly, the Bergamasque Alps’ tallest – and currently snow-covered peak – isn’t on the route for Monza Rally, but it’s not far away. And it’s for that reason that Michelin will arrive at the Lombardy track armed and ready for winter descending from the summit to the stages.
As with all asphalt rounds of the championship, the tire nomination offers three alternatives, with the teams going for the soft and hard compound of dry-weather tire. A wet weather option is always included, but Michelin’s rally manager Arnaud Remy said he wasn’t prepared to take a winter gamble on his firm’s World Rally Championship finale next month.
Pirelli will, of course, be taking over the supply of the World Rally Championship’s rubber from January’s Monte Carlo Rally.
Currently, there is no regulation to allow a fourth tire option in Monza, but Remy wants to be prepared for the worst.
“We have explained to the FIA the concerns the teams have about the Saturday stages [north of Bergamo],” Remy told DirtFish.
“With that in mind, we will take snow tires with us to the event. These will be the snow tires without studs. Maybe they go from [Michelin’s factory in] Clermont-Ferrand to Monza and back to Clermont-Ferrand without coming out of the truck.
“It’s our last event and we don’t want to risk [it]. It doesn’t matter if we don’t use them, we have to have them there so that we can have the option.”
Remy said the other tire selections made sense.
“The super soft [dry weather] tire we take to Monte Carlo is much more about the temperature,” he said. “It works if it’s dry, but very cold, like it can be in Monte. We don’t expect this in Monza. And the difference between a medium and a hard [compound] was not so big.
“Monza is the last round of the season and it makes sense – it’s a no-brainer – for us to take these tires and the snow tire as well. We will be ready.”
Remy added that he wasn’t concerned at the use of gravel on some of the circuit stages next week.
“Don’t forget, our tires are used to Panzerplatte in Germany. We are looking at the gravel more like a heavy pollution [lots of mud] on the road. Yes, it could be tricky for the crews in some sections, but it’s certainly no reason to be taking the gravel tire.”
Rally Monza’s Saturday stages will take the crews into the Bergamasque Alps north of Bergamo and, according to locals, snow and ice is a familiar feature of the area in early December.