Yokohama, the official tyres supplier for the FIA World Touring Car Championship, has laid the blame for the spate of tyre failures at the last round at the Salbzburgring squarely at the teams which ran overly aggressive set-ups during the event.
In turn, it has warned them not to do so again at this weekend’s Race of Portugal at Portimão.
A combination of aggressive camber angles, low tyre pressures, the circuit’s long Fahrerlager Kurve and scorching track temperatures saw a spate of punctures in the afternoon’s second race, which saw the factory RML Chevrolet squad denied a certain 1-2-3 finish when all three drivers succumbed to punctures.
Hot temperatures are again forecast for this weekend’s event at Portimão’s Algarve Circuit, which also features a long high-speed right-hander that could punish the front-wheel-drive entries from Chevrolet, SEAT, Ford and LADA.
“We had eight cars suffer punctures in Salzburgring,” Yokohama Europe’s motorsport manager Kazuyoshi Sekiguchi said.
“We spoke with the teams, and we are just as disappointed as they are, but we knew it could happen. The characteristics of the circuit played a big part in the problems as it is a very tough track for front-wheel drive touring cars.
“I don’t think in Portimão we will have these problems, but we will advise teams not too run too much camber or too low pressure.”
Yokohama is not allowed to perform in-season modifications to its standard-spec tyre it supplies to the World Touring Car Championship, with its deal running out at the end of the current season.
However, Sekiguchi hinted that it may consider an adjustment to its tyre construction for the future, should it win the tender and should the Salzburgring remain on the WTCC calendar.
“Our agreement with the WTCC to supply tyres ends this year, and we will then go into the tender process for the next three years,” he continued. “If we are chosen, and Salzburgring is again on the calendar, we may consider changing the tyre. But I don’t think it would be a big change, because our current tyre provides a good level of competition between the front and rear-wheel drive cars.”