The Mini ALL4 Racing, Toyota Hilux, Great-Wall entries, as well as a long list of privateer T1 cars (like the SMG buggies and Dessoude prototypes), are all competing on Michelin Latitude C tyres this year. Since 1983, Michelin has notched up 15 ‘car’ wins in association with makes like Peugeot, Citroën, Mitsubishi, etc.
Factory and factory-backed teams may only use one type of tyre for the entire event, while no ‘re-cutting’ of the tread pattern is permitted. The only parameter that competitors can adjust to match their tyres to the conditions and terrain is tyre pressures.
Tyres need to be both strong and versatile. They must be robust enough to soak up the punishment of the hundreds of kilometres of stony tracks, sand and fesh-fesh, and also cope with the mechanical constraints like the weight of the cars, etc. at the same time, they must be sufficiently versatile to take the different conditions (heat, mud, etc.) in their stride.
The 2013 Dakar will also see Michelin compete in the ‘bike’ class (with the Bib Mousse-equipped ‘Desert Race’ tyre, the winning combination in 2011 and 2012), as well as in the ‘truck’ class with the Michelin XZL, the category’s benchmark for several years.
During the rally, Michelin will provide a free tyre-fitting service for all competitors, irrespective of the brand they are using. This service will be provided by 10 or so fitters who expect to carry out some 3,000 operations in the course of the event.