When competing on the various surfaces and weather conditions of world rally, our crews need to rely on competitive and durable rally rubber. The work that goes into equipping our car with tyres is far more detailed than you might imagine…
It is the responsibility of our ‘tyre guys’ to ensure that we can make the most of the products supplied to us by our partners.
Working in this area requires a detailed understanding of mechanics skills, as well as tyre technology. From knowing the correct way to mount or balance a tyre, to carrying out visual analysis to spot cracks or excessive wear, it’s an all-encompassing task.
There are around 400 tyres of all types in our Workshop Store. Different compounds are available to cope with the rigorous demands of the WRC, with products to suit all terrains and temperatures. There are also up to 800 wheel rims to manage, onto which the rubber will be mounted. Stock control is therefore an important task.
Attention to detail is top priority. Each rim has to be checked for roundness, making sure they are not bent or cracked. The valve also needs to be assessed and, when necessary, replaced.
Once the tyre itself is mounted, the Tyre Workshop team has to get the pressures correct before they are eventually used for rollouts, tests and recce, or for our customer R5 cars.
A close working collaboration with the car engineer for each event ensures this process runs without a hitch. They are also able to call on the support of our Workshop Office colleagues to clarify any uncertainty. Once the tyres are ready, the responsibility moves onto our on-site colleagues.
For rollout and tests, it is the duty of our ‘truckies’ to take over the on-site responsibility for the prepared tyres. At WRC events, however, it is down to our partner Michelin to mount and demount the rally tyres, working together with our on-event tyre team.
With up to 140 rims for our cars, it is a big job. All tyres have their own unique barcode, which is registered with the FIA and specific to each car. We have one member of our team assigned to each car to make sure tyres are not mixed up, and that only the designated quantity is used at each rally.
There is huge pressure on our team to get everything accurately prepared with the rapid turnaround needed for the intense rally environment.
After a rally, those Tyre team members who are permanently based at our Alzenau factory clean all the rims thoroughly before the detailed process begins again. Our ‘tyre guys’ quite literally keep our wheels turning.