The first round of the Australian Rally Championship marked the first time that MRF Tyres were used as the control rubber for a round of the national series.
In warm, dry and very dusty conditions, MRF Tyres / Mentor Tyres’ Vivek Ponnusamy says that the tyres performed very well, and that competitors were happy with the new rubber.
After several years with Kumho as the official tyre supplier, it was a new dawn for drivers as they worked to find the perfect set-up between car and tyre.
“The weekend went extremely well. The tyres performed very, very well,” Ponnusamy told RallySport Magazine.
“The top guys on medium tyres were wearing them out evenly, and drivers like Harry Bates, Nathan Quinn and Eli Evans were extremely positive and satisfied.
“The other drivers in the field are also happy that the tyres lasted very well.”
A ‘high performance rally tyre with maximum longevity that is durable’ is MRF’s goal, and Ponnusamy says the tyres proved that in the Eureka Rally.
“Even with twisting and hard surfaces on Saturday, the tyres were performing very well. The drivers are learning the set-up of the car to suit MRF.
“I think by Canberra (round three in May) all should be sorted. There were no negative or dissatisfied drivers at all.”
I think the tyres were pretty consistent,” reported Nathan Quinn, who finished second on both days of the rally.
“When they are brand new on the first pass (of stages), I found braking and turn-in a little slow, but on a swept line they had really good grip.
“On the Saturday I reckon the tyres worked better after 20km of wear. So much so I took the compromise to go out with worn fronts and new rears on the Sunday afternoon.
“I did the event, including testing (30km) on 12 tyres, which is great for me as a competitor,” Quinn said.
MRF also introduced a new data collection system that was used for the first time.
In the past the ARC has used a manual system of marking tyres with a coloured pen, but from this event a new barcode system was used to record the tyre data from each competitor, and ensure that only the set amount of tyres were used by any competitor.
“It’s been designed with guidance from the ARC and implemented at this event. There are a couple of enhancements that need to be done but, all went well,” he added.
- Peter Whitten