Motorsport News - Rally
Yokohama heads into new territory for Rally San Marino
3rd July 2012
It will be a trip into new territory for Japanese tyre manufacturer Yokohama next week, as the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, featuring Yokohama as a tyre partner, heads for the republic of San Marino for the next round of the IRC. This event will also be the second outing for Yokohama-supported reigning IRC Production Cup champion Toshi Arai and team-mate Jarkko Nikara, following their debut this season on the Tour de Corse in May.
Rally San Marino is forming part of the IRC for the first time this season and sees the series return to gravel after two tarmac events. Running entirely within the republic save for a single stage in Italy, the event uses hard base gravel roads with a light covering of loose surface, so road-cleaning should not be as apparent on some events.
Arai and Nikara, run by multiple world champion Tommi Makinen, will be using the Yokohama ADVAN A053 gravel tyres on their Subaru Impreza R4 cars. The weather is likely to be hot and dry but stage distances between services are relatively short to begin with - the longest is just over 40Km until the final loop of stages on Saturday, when the crews tackle five stages without service, totalling 60Km.
Looking ahead to the event, Yokohama technician Ian Beveridge said; "I think San Marino shouldn't pose too many problems from a tyre point of view. The weather looks like it will be dry and warm and the roads are quite smooth, rather than abrasive.
"In preparation, we visited the event last year and saw the roads are hard-packed base with a little loose gravel on top, so while they will clean, it will not be a huge amount. Once clean, they are likely to be in good condition and provide good grip.
"We will be taking the ADVAN A053 gravel tyres, in a soft and medium compound, as these should suit the conditions well. We will have a new compound for the weekend as we are continually developing the rally products and I think the road surface, and the fact that the stages are fairly fast and flowing, should mean that hopefully, it won't be as demanding an event on tyres as others in the series."
While San Marino is forming part of the IRC for the first time, this year marks the 40th running of the event. It begins with a ceremonial start in San Marino on the evening of Thursday 5 July before the action begins in earnest on Friday 6 July, with five stages, including the San Marino special at 21.30. Saturday sees eight stages for the crews before arriving at the finish at 20.00 hours. San Marino is BST + 1 hour.
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