WRC, punctures at Rally Sweden: what to do if teams do not follow recommendations?

After last year there was some criticism of the Pirelli tyres, and even in Rallye Monte Carlo, the race winner, Sébastien Haulier, spoke several times about the care he had to take in order not to lose the rally again as he did in 2021. in this Swedish Rally there were again tire problems to the point where the teams asked Pirelli to investigate the three tire failures that occurred during this rally.
At Hyundai, Esapekka Lappi and Craig Breen suffered with flat tyres, while Ott Tänak also suffered a puncture. However, the holes were different. But here we go…
Hyundai has asked Pirelli for an explanation, so has M-Sport for Tanak.
And Pirelli responded. Terenzio Testoni, “manager” of Pirelli’s rally operations, said the separations and punctures suffered by Esapekka Lappi and Craig Breen were the result of too low tire pressure, well below Pirelli’s recommendations.
In Tanak’s case, where the hole was on the second pass, it was due to the road conditions being very different from the morning with a lot of dirt, which is not at all suitable for studded tires, which “need” ice. .
So that amounts to a tricky question, because while it’s true that today’s Pirellis still don’t have the same puncture resistance that the old Michelins did, the truth is that this isn’t the case in snow. And it’s also true that Pirelli dirt and asphalt tires improve over time.
In Sweden there were no punctures, (with the exception of Elfyn Evans in the shakedown where a stone cut the tire wall) that were on the same tire wall, which usually happens on tarmac and dirt sections. In Sweden, Tanak’s puncture is suspected to have been a problem with a rim, hence the slow puncture until the tire comes off the rim.
In Hyundai’s case, it was a delamination, which is by no means the standard puncture.
This detachment was also seen in some Rally2’s that are known, they used very low pressures and what is suspected is that Hyundai did just that.
Of course, Pirelli can’t push certain pressures, but they recommend, taking into account what they know about the tires and it’s Pirelli that compiles the data of the whole team, so they should know about it.
However, if teams lower the pressures because it suits them, because the tire is softer, grips better, they also run the risk of a puncture, as the tire is primed for a certain pressure level, hence the recommendation.
Only Hyundai and Pirelli will know, but what we do know is that there are benefits with this type of floor in reducing pressure. Whether they did or not, only they know. From what Testoni said it seems to be.
It is certain that the issue of tires will continue throughout the year, although on asphalt and dirt the teams already know much better the behavior of the tires.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *