Only a few more days to go before we get to see what the weather has in store for Tall Pines. With the conditions potentially being vastly different depending on the final hours leading up to the start, we're taking a variety of different tires.
Here's an idea of some of the different tires were taking and what conditions we might be using them for!
So this C5 is a tire that we picked up a couple of years ago. We've never actually had the opportunity to use this tire, mainly because we haven't run any deep snow lately.
This tire will be brought out if somehow we end up getting an unbelievable amount of deep snow out on the stages. With some of the roads being deep in the woods, there isn't really anywhere for the snow to push to. Being further down the pack, if there's a lot of snow these should help us to bite through and get some traction. Only for the deepest conditions!
These are a pretty common site in Canadian rally events. The prime snow tire for any conditions with snow on the road and low temperatures, you'll see a lot of competitors running these. The problem with running these tires is you need a good bit of snow cover to make them last. If we get icy conditions then these are a good option, but they wear too quick. You'll see the top teams running these all day if it's icy!
These tires are something that again we haven't used much, but they have a pretty specific purpose. Since we're running about 15 cars back, if the conditions are light snow with ice underneath, the surface will tend to get very 'polished'. These tires should give us some traction on those polished surfaces. The tires are run on a wheel which is basically full of nails to rip up the rubber compound, giving it a feathered appearance. The idea being that the tread blocks will flex and maintain contact with the icy surface, almost creating a suction like grip.
They do however have a limited shelf life, so if the surface changes and there's any grip at all we'll rip these to pieces!!
These will most likely be the best option for us if the conditions are a mix between gravel and ice. They are a street tire made for specifically icy winter conditions. The benefit to these tires is they will provide grip on the ice, but will at least last if the gravel starts to show through.
2012 saw us run these tires the majority of the day and although they are the right choice, they are also prone to flats. Rally tires have much stiffer sidewalks and stronger construction to resist flats, but these street tires don't have the same technology.
As well as these tires we'll also be taking various gravel compounds with us. You have to be careful with gravel tires because most are built to survive being pounded on in above zero temperatures and generating a lot of heat. When the temps are lower the compound doesn't react as well and tends to become very brittle.
So all this means is that we won't really know what compounds to run until we get up to Bancroft...and probably not till Saturday morning!
All we can be is prepared at this point, and even still I'm sure we'll be wishing we had one more option!!
Bring on the weather and let's hope we brought the right equipment!!