Michelin X-Ice North “pleases” teams in WRC comeback
Michelin has returned to the World Rally Championship in Sweden, providing its X-Ice North tyre to Mikko Hirvonen, who produced what Michelin termed: “a practically mistake-free performance to claim a fine win for Ford Abu Dhabi WRT and the brand new Fiesta RS WRC”. The manufacturer was pleased with the tyre’s performance in challenging, varied conditions: Falling snow greeted the early stages, while on others portions of gravel gradually became exposed as the cars cut through the icy coating. Michelin said the tyres “were still equipped with practically all their  studs at the ends of the long looping stages”. Current WRC regulations only permit manufacturers to run one type of tyre per rally.
Nick Shorrock, director of Michelin Competition, said: “This is an important result for Michelin inasmuch as Rally Sweden was the first outing for the brand after a five-year absence from the World Rally Championship. It also enabled us to build on Michelin’s previous record of 20 wins on this event. Technically, the performance and versatility of the new X-Ice North confirmed Michelin’s expertise in the field of asymmetric patterns and studding technology. The effort my team has succeeded in delivering in short a short lapse of time and our close work with our partners not only paid early dividends but also suggest that the development of Michelin’s new range of rally tires is on the right track.”
Michelin also stated that its partners Citroën Racing and Ford Abu Dhabi WRT had been pleased with the new tyre’s performance, despite what the manufacturer terms two “distinct operating styles and technically differing cars”. Michelin said the competitiveness of the tyre was praised too by the firm’s privateer partner teams who, thanks to the latest regulations, benefited from the same products as the factory runners.
The Michelin X-Ice North has an asymmetrical and directional tread, with the outer tread blocks for lateral grip and the inner blocks for traction. It has 384 studs with 6.7mm of visible length. The manufacturer took 1,400 tyres to Rally Sweden.