Pascal Couasnon (l) and Oliver Ciesla both look forward to Michelin’s continued WRC involvement
An extension of its current agreement with WRC Promoter GmbH will see Michelin continue its commitment to the Word Rally Championship until the end of 2019, and Michelin will remain the WRC’s official tyre during this period. The agreement comes as Michelin bids to secure its 300th WRC victory at RallyRACC Catalunya – Rally de España this weekend, and stands on the verge of sealing its 50th world title in the drivers’ and manufacturers’ championships.
According to Michelin motorsport director Pascal Couasnon, Michelin is excited by the task of producing tyres for the new generation of World Rally Cars that will enter the championship next season: “The more powerful cars that are poised to make their debut in 2017 pose a fresh challenge for our engineers whose mission is to continue conceiving tyres that are not only increasingly competitive, but also safer and more versatile.”
WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla opines that the new agreement will strengthen the WRC as it prepares for an exciting new era. “I’m delighted Michelin has furthered its commitment to WRC for another three years. Michelin was winning world rallies when the WRC started, and more than 40 years later it is still on top of the podium, and hoping to reach two more landmarks this weekend.”
The tyre maker’s involvement with the WRC dates back to the inaugural championship in 1973, and it has provided competition tyres to manufacturers for all but four seasons since then. For the past five years, WRC entrants have been free to compete on any brand of tyre registered with the FIA, and although a return to the use of a control tyre has apparently been considered, Couasnon states that open competition between different tyre manufacturers is at the heart of Michelin’s commitment to the WRC. “We are honoured to be working so closely with the factory teams and the confidence they have in us keeps driving us to design the best possible tyres,” he adds.
The motorsport director also sees a strong connection between Michelin’s WRC involvement and its wider car tyre business. “Our loyalty to the sport is also due to the close ties that exist between the discipline and everyday motoring, since the WRC features roads and tracks that are used by ordinary motorists.”