Citroen Fears Michelin Tires Will Be an Issue in 2011

Citroen's motorsport director Olivier Quesnel admitted that tire punctures might become an important factor in the 2011 World Rally Championship, after his team suffered a bunch of them during the recently ended Rally Sweden.

Last weekend, Sebastien Loeb's efforts on the snowy and icy roads of the Scandinavian route have been hampered by a couple of punctures, while several other Citroen DS3 WRCs experienced similar issues. And although some of them were caused by Citroen's intentionally lowering the tire pressure prior to the event – in order to widen the contact patch to the road – Quesnel expects this kind of problem to appear in several other rounds of the 2011 calendar.

There are some punctures and we don't know what will happen in Mexico. I would not like WRC to become a lottery because of the tires, but we don't know yet,” said Quesnel.

As it happened in Formula 1 this year with Pirelli, being that Michelin has returned to the WRC championship after a long period of absence has already attracted some criticism regarding their 2011-spec compounds. However, despite the fact that both Citroen and Ford experienced tire punctures in Sweden, the French officials played down the recent criticism, while admitting however that they need to find a way to improve.

We know our tires, we know what development has gone into them and we are sure of their performance,” a Michelin spokesman was quoted as saying by Autosport. “On the other hand, this is our return to rally after five years, so we have to learn and we are very humble as we look to improve. Yes, we are good at producing tires, but we are not God.”
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