WRC

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BFGoodrich took part in the World Rally Championship (WRC), a competition created by the FIA in 1973, until 2007.

This championship – fought over 16 rounds – was won in 2007, for the 4th year running, by Sébastien Loeb (Citroën/BFGoodrich).

THE WINTER

Winter is the main attraction in rallying! To tackle extreme conditions, snow, ice and black ice, studded tyres are essential. It all starts with the Monte-Carlo Rally, the oldest rally in the World Championship, organized in the middle of January in the Vercors mountains, Ardèche and Mercantour, three areas where winters are often severe and roads are super-slippery.

Then the rally circus travels to the Far North for two weeks of snow with the Swedish and Norwegian Rallies. It would be hard to find a more wintery environment with their snow-covered forests full of elks, crackling fires and snow boots drying in the lobby. When the WRC competitors arrive at the beginning of February, the whole of the Värmland region is covered with a thick layer of snow and ice on which only g-Force Ice tyres with their 384 studs can get a grip. It sends shivers down your spine when you think that, thanks to these special tyres, the cars reach nearly 200 km/h (125 mph) !

The following week it is the other side of the border, at Hamar, near the Lillehammer Olympic site, that the WRC sets up camp for the Norwegian Rally. Here, the mercury is always low, the snow is always white and the Trolls are as ugly as ever.

THE DUST

Besides the pleasure of improvising and long slides, rallies on dirt roads have the advantage of taking the competitors off the beaten track, away from civilization. The contrast between the feverish activity in the service area, usually set up in town or a suburban area, and the dirt tracks which run through wildly beautiful countryside, including steep precipices where only the wind blows, is astonishing. In Mexico, for example, competitors traverse authentic villages that the third millennium has not yet reached, where frail donkeys wander, heavily loaded. In Portugal, the tracks which radiate out from the seaside resort of Faro take the crews through forests of cork oak and other Mediterranean trees. In Wales, muddy tracks disappear into the fog to reappear in the courtyards of sinister medieval castles.

“Dirt” sets the tyre manufacturers a particularly interesting challenge: the problem is to obtain maximum grip on a surface with little adhesion, usually contaminated with sand, gravel, stones or mud. In two years, the g-Force Gravel tyre has not lost a single competition on the dirt stages of the World Rally Championship. It has brought success to various automobiles such as the Ford Focus, the Citroën Xsara and the new C4 in the WRC category, as well as the Subaru Impreza and the Mitsubishi Lancer in the P-WRC Championship.

THE ASPHALT

Asphalt is also a specialist area for tyres. Between 2006 and 2007, BFGoodrich g-Force Profiler tyres have not lost a single competition on this surface, irrespective of the conditions: dry ground, moist or water-logged surfaces.

On asphalt, competition tyres are subjected to tremendous forces, incredible lateral stresses which make demands on the casing, braking and skidding which push the rubber to its limits, tread temperatures which exceed 100°C and which generate pressure rises which are bad for tyre performance. Asphalt in general, and that of the Tour de Corse in particular, is the most demanding surface for tyres. The experts know how to get the best out of them.