Prokop on his Michelin switch
Czech driver explains his reasons for changing from DMACK to Michelin
Martin Prokop will start Rally Argentina on new and unfamiliar tyres after a last-minute switch of suppliers from DMACK to Michelin.
The Czech, who drives a Ford Fiesta RS, made the change a week ago, a fortnight after finishing seventh on Rally Portugal.
Prokop was fourth on Rally Argentina in 2012, a result that remains the best of his WRC career so far and DMACK’s best WRC finish.
This week Prokop is aiming high again, but admits Michelin’s new tyres, which he expects to use for the rest of the season, will take some getting used to.
Wrc.com talked to Prokop at today’s pre-event shakedown:
Q: Why make the change?
MP: “I have a good relationship with DMACK, and have been working with them on the development of the tyres, but we expected the performance would be better sooner. At the same time we can see that Michelin had taken a big step forward with their tyres. My sponsors are keen to see us doing better - and soon - so we felt it was the right decision to make.”
Q: You’ve done well in Argentina before. What are you aiming for this year?
MP: “Last year was really good, my best rally in fact, so I hope we can do a good job again. The problem is the change of the tyres. We have had no chance to test since making the change so I’ll have to work on the set-up during the rally. For sure the tyres work in a different way with the dampers and they will require a different driving style. It will take some time to get a good feeling. At qualifying I didn’t feel very good in the car. I need more time.”
Q: What is so different about the new tyres?
MP: “It’s a bit like in tennis, when you have a racquet and you know exactly what it will do when you hit the ball. If you change the racquet then it’s doing different things. Maybe it’s working well, or better that the last one, but you still need to get the feeling and find out how it works. That’s where we are now – we need to find the feeling with the car and these tyres.”
Q: How long do you think this will take to find?
MP: “I think we’ll be okay by midway through the first day.”
Q: What’s your strategy for the rally?
MP: “Argentina is a very difficult rally - there are lots of stones and the stages are very rough. Last year we kept out of trouble and we had no problems. We’ll try and do the same this time.”
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