Sunday, January 26, 2020

The cross sytem

A reader (windvast) has asked the following question:

I'm quite interested in cross tyre setup used by many drivers in Monte Carlo, e.g., Studs in one diagonal and Super Soft in another. Would you please explain how this works, does this setup highly depends on good diffs and etc? Thank you very much.

It makes more sense to discuss your question in a post. Here is the tyre allocation for Monte 2020, for WRC car drivers check List 2.

Softs and Super Softs are so called "slicks" for dry or damp/wettish conditions, they have tread patterns that make them look a bit like standard road tyres.

The regulations and the rally formats forced teams to start using this cross system a few years ago. Let's keep in mind that cars can carry 2 spares. Have a look at the SS 3-4-5 loop below as an example. They get to use 6 tyres for that loop. Road conditions will vary a lot. You're talking driving down in the valley, up the mountain and over to the other side. It can rain, be dry, be icy, snowy, etc. 

Let's be frank, running a cross tyre setup is a compromise and they're doing it only because they have to. Ideally you want to run 4 of the same tyres on your car to have the same grip level on all 4 wheels.. for stability. You mentioned diffs in your question. The teams will have tested and determined their car setups based on tyres they will run in the rally. So yes, they have optimal diff setups. To my mind there is nothing particular about it, it's just something to be tried and tested.

Here is a hypothetical example where you would see a cross tyre setup: 

Stage 3 is 65% dry, 30% damp and 5% patchy ice. The stage is long and twisty so the tire will suffer, especially the front. Stage 4 is mostly dry but there's 30% slush and ice with some patchy ice towards the finish. It's long and very twisty after the mountain pass. Stage 5 is 75% dry and 25% damp, the gravel crew reports patchy ice on 1 km only. 

Our driver knows that the fastest option is to drive on "softs" except for stage 4 where he could lose dozens of seconds on the ice and slush. So he needs a compromise setup just for that bit. His decision is to take 4 softs and "2 snow" with studs. He takes the stud option because he feels that will help a bit more in stage 4. But he also knows that after stage 4 his studs will be mostly gone. He plans to run stage 3 and 5 with the 4 softs, using the 2 he kept in the boot for stage 4, on the front wheels in stage 5. In this example our driver will run a cross setup on stage 4. Of course this plan might all go to hell if he punctures in stage 3.

Hopefully this all makes sense.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

A glass of wine with the Boss?

Some say that I have left it all and abandoned you.

I am still here, in a way. 

You may be happy to know that since April 5th 2011 I have been immensely grateful for the positive feedback received.

Back when I started writing, my "WHY" was frustration relief. Sharing my experience would help me deal with what I felt was unfair.

So I wrote it all, exactly how I lived it. My story went around the WRC circus a few times. Some warned me it could be dangerous, but the reality was different.

Telling my story helped me move on, and the surprise came later when it evolved into a way to provide enthusiasts with a bible of first hand knowledge to help guide them on the stages.

15 years after I spoke to him last I can say that I'd like to drink a glass of wine with the Boss, maybe hear his "WHY".

These days, my attention has shifted to my very first love in life. I will continue checking for comments a few times a year. You can still send your questions as comments or by email at

If I can give you a meaningful answer, I'll answer. If not, it means I can't help you.