With the 2013 running of the Dakar in full swing we take a look at the unique challenge the rally brings to tyre manufacturer Michelin.
Providing tyres for cars, bikes, trucks and support vehicles the rally gives the French manufacturer a chance to showcase the various qualities of their latest rubber.
The car category sees a brand new tyre the Latitude C make its rally debut, developed to withstand the punishment associated with the South American route. Strength to stand up to the challenges wasn’t the only thing to be considered, endurance of the tyre sufficiently covers the longest stages of the rally, some of which are almost 600 kilometres long.
Michelin will be keen to make progress in this category as their last win in the car class came in 2001 when the pairing of Kleinschmidt and Schulz took victory in their Mitsubishi taking their tally to 15 wins.
The last three years in bike class has been dominated by Michelin shod riders with the last two years seeing the Michelin Desert Race tyre offering the best option.
Four-time Dakar winner Cyril Depres comments “On the Dakar the biggest challenge comes not from your rivals but from the desert itself. 8,000 kilometres separate us from the finish line and tyres are part of the armoury we have at our disposal.”
The Desert Race tyre is backed up by the innovative Bib Mousse anti-puncture technology which is lighter than an inner-tube but has a higher performance and endurance level.
Like the bike class the truck class has offered Michelin a total of 29 Dakar victories and has enjoyed time on the top step in the last 25 times the rally has been run.
Michelin at the Dakar rally facts:
- 60% of the 2013 car entries are competing on Michelin Latitude C tyres
- 85% of the 2013 bike entries are competing on Michelin Desert Race tyres
- Approximately 70% of the 2013 truck entries are competing on Michelin XZL tyres
- 2 trucks for the transport of tyres and servicing equipment
- A staff of 10 present on the event (fitters, technicians and manager)
- 29 wins in the bike class since 1982
- 29 wins in the truck class since 1980
- 15 wins in the car class (including 12 with BFGoodrich tyres)
- 3 000 tyres fitted and removed
- 30 years’ experience of cross-country rallies for Michelin
- 1982 Michelin’s first involvement with the DAKAR