The 2013 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) held in Wales, Great Britain lived up to its reputation as one of the most complex and most fierce events of the season. The mud and extremely slippery Welsh forest tracks proved a grueling test for all the drivers.
This event traditionally throws rain, wind, fog and sometimes even snow at competitors, but this year’s weather conditions proved less delicate than expected. Even so, the sky remained threatening and the temperatures were chilly throughout, and the absence of rain had a direct influence on team strategies since the crews had to contend with big differences in the amount of grip they encountered compared to what they had come across during their rainy recce earlier in the week. More difficult still was the thin layer of mud that coated the rocky base and made it as slippery as if it were covered in a layer of wet moss.
Despite these unpredictable and constantly shifting conditions, Sébastien Ogier managed to get his 9th victory this year getting Volkswagen and Michelin’s 10 wins out of 13 rounds!
“There really wasn’t much grip on the stages, and the little grip that was available was inconsistent. The first passes proved very delicate because of all the slippery mud on the driving line. You just had to choose a line and stay on it if you wanted to post a competitive time. The second passes were even more of a challenge. After the cars had been through once, the hard-packed roads became incredibly slippery in places where the stony base was now covered in a film of packed dirt. Thankfully, our tyres were perfectly suited to the situation and delivered the necessary grip and responsiveness to permit some fast times and I was always able to push that little bit harder whenever I wanted to. This year’s Wales Rally GB was all about knowing where to lift just enough not to go off the road for good…” said Sébastien Ogier (Winner, Volkswagen Motorsport)
The tyres he was talking about was the MICHELIN LATITUDE Cross S3.
Last month, the 2013 Rally de Espana saw Sébastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala earn Volkswagen’s first one-two finish in the WRC, as well as its first Manufacturers’ world title. The French pair’s victory also brought Michelin a 23rd Manufacturers’ crown. All the world titles were settled: WRC (Ogier and Volkswagen), WRC-2 (Kubica), WRC-3 (Chardonnet) and Junior-WRC (Tidemand). One of the main focuses that week-end was therefore the scrap between Neuville
It is finally Jari-Matti Latvala who finished second in Wales but the podium honors sufficed for Thierry Neuville to come second in this season’s WRC.
Here’s the result card: