Some of the leading drivers in the Australian Rally Championship are fuming over the new control tyre rules, which came into play at the first round of the series in Tasmania this weekend.

Early on day two, the tyre issue has raised its head, with drivers being on different compounds, and some crews seemingly gaining an advantage because of it.

Tyre supplier Kumho flew in 150 tyres for Rally Tasmania, but it has emerged that the compound differed, depending on what size the tyres were.

Scott Pedder, for example, is using 17 inch rims on his Mitsubishi Lancer (with a medium-hard compound tyre), which are a softer compound to those being used on Simon Evans’ Subaru (hard compound), which has 18 inch rims.

“If only,” Evans scoffed at this morning service, when asked if he was on the same compound tyre as Pedder.

“I’m driving as well as I’ve ever driven on tarmac, but we’re getting hosed. It’s like a drifting competition out there,” he said.

Glen Raymond, also on the harder tyre, agreed.

“We’ve had a few handling issue because we’re in a new car, but despite that, this control tyre issue has made a mockery of it all,” Raymond said.

“It’s clear that not all competitors are on an equal footing.”

Eli Evans is also suffering in his Honda Civic. He finished yesterday’s 19 kilometre Hellyer stage with the front tyres virtually bald, and had to back off on the longer stages of day two in order to preserve his rubber.

Despite this, he has de-laminated at least four tyres and has dropped from leading the rally after the first stage of day two, to be lying sixth, over six minutes from the lead.

The introduction of a control tyre into the ARC is asking more questions than it answers.

It is the first time the championship has controlled what tyres competitors can use, and while the rule has seemed to work well in the World Championship, where Pirelli is the sole supplier, other championships, such as the Asia-Pacific Championship, have voted against such a rule.

The task now for ARC administrators is to try to ensure that parity across the whole field is achieved, but whether that can be resolved in Tasmania is unlikely.
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