The changing face of WRC shakedown stage
- 9th February 2017, 9:22pm
News that the 2017 Fiesta World Rally Car of OneBet Jipocar driver Mads Ostberg had made fastest time in Shakedown came as a surprise, but the circumstances were special.
This year the tyre rules applying to World Rally Cars have changed, in that the tyres used at Shakedown on WRC events are now included in the total number of tyres which can be fitted during a full rally.
Previously the Shakedown tests were not included - but the total number of tyres used by crews has been partially adjusted.
Some top drivers deliberately eased their pace on the Swedish Rally Shakedown so as to protect their tyre condition for later in the rally, notably Ogier, Tanak and Evans from M-Sport, and Neuville and Sordo from Hyundai.
Others, notably Citroen drivers Meeke and Breen and Hyundai driver Paddon, did not!
For a different reason, this is the second WRC event of the season where Shakedown did not give the performance indicators desired.
In Sweden, every driver runs with tyres of the same specification, there is no tyre selection process. The only choice of tyre in Sweden relates to the conditions of the tread pattern and the current retention of the studs of the available tyres.
At Monte Carlo, there were a range of different designs of tyres to choose from and drivers used Shakedown to find out more about the capabilities of the available tyres.
Only when teams’ tyre supplies become depleted on the final day in Sweden will the success or failure of the Shakedown tactics become clear. Ostberg’s time was 4m11.6s, Breen 4m11.7s, Paddon 4m12.1.
- Martin Holmes
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