Following claims the FIA’s new ‘no confidential tyres’ rule will most effect championship team Motor Image, team manager Philip Rodgers has sought to set the record straight, saying MI have never used ‘confidential’ tyres.
Previously, APRC entrants could use both commercially available tyres, and rubber made available only to selected customers of the major tyre manufacturers. But changes to the FIA rules for regional rally championships now permit off-the-shelf, commonly available, tyres only.
In the case of Motor Image, Rodgers estimates between 30%-50% of their tyres for the 2007 season was selected from Pirelli’s WRC stock. “We have never used ‘confidential’ tyres. We have used special Pirelli tyres made for the WRC. Most tyre makers including Pirelli, Michelin, Yokohama, Dunlop and Silverstone make ‘special’ tyres for their supported teams. In the case of Pirelli and Michelin these tyres mostly aimed at WRC users.”
The changes are expected to have the biggest impact on Motor Image and MRF, while assisting mid-pack team Cusco to close-the-gap on the APRC’s leading two teams.
But while the new rules should help to ‘level the playing field’, some rally-insiders have privately suggested to APRC Live the rule changes are a backward step, and that a ‘tyre war’ between the various manufacturers would not only bring more support to APRC teams, but also provide the opportunity for smaller manufacturers to catch-up to Pirelli and MRF.
The first test of the new tyre rules comes in just two weeks time. Rally of Canberra will be first time MRF and Motor Image meet head-on this season, and the debut of Takuma Kamada and Alex Gamayunov and Arai Motorsport team.
Image courtesy of Carolyn Will.