The Motor Sports Association (MSA) has announced plans that will move Stage Rally cars towards the use of tyres with less aggressive tread patterns in the course of the coming years.
Following extensive discussions between the governing body, Forestry Commission, Rallies Committee, the Rally Championship Steering Group, the Tyre Advisory Panel and other interested parties, the MSA will convene a special meeting in November to formulate its tyre policy for the future.
Last year’s Greenerways Rally, conducted by the British Rally Championship (BRC), Pirelli, the MSA and the Forestry Commission, delivered strong evidence that the use of tyres with a closer tread pattern results in substantially less damage to the forest roads. It was seen that a tyre with a greater contact area with the road surface helped to preserve the integrity of the road construction and thereby reduced the associated repair bills. Further benefits may also be seen in better durability of the tyres and the fact that with reduced traction many mechanical components will be subjected to less stress.
“The future for gravel rallying has to be less aggressive tyre patterns,” says Colin Hilton, MSA Chief Executive. “It may well save money for competitors and event organisers in the long-term, but that is just a welcome bi-product of this strategy. We believe that we have a duty to behave in a responsible and sustainable way if we are to safeguard the future of the sport and continue to enjoy access to the forests for our events. In this respect, we are also introducing other initiatives for all stage rally cars including the mandatory carrying of environmental ‘Spill Kits’ and the use of mud flaps behind all four wheels of the car.
“In formulating our future tyre policy, we will continue to work closely with all the parties involved and I must make special mention of BRC and Pirelli who have been instrumental in this process in recent years. We are also grateful to the Forestry Commission for their continued support of motor sport and we look forward to concluding negotiations over a new Master Agreement for access to the Forestry Estate shortly.”