Sébastien Ogier’s ‘ice spy’ is a chap called Nicolas Vouilloz, also known as the ‘inventor of tyre crossing’. In unclear and fluctuating weather conditions, rally drivers are increasingly opting for a mixed tyre set-up in a cross configuration. For example, slick and wet tyres are used at the same time, with slicks fitted on the front left and rear right, and wets in reverse.
“We tried this out years ago at tyre tests with Michelin, and it worked better than having different tyres on the front axle to the rear axle. We were probably the first to use it in competition,” said Vouilloz.
No doubt Vouilloz perfected this technique in his own rallying career (he won the IRC in 2008) but you wonder how he applied this to his other professional sporting pursuit – he has won the World Downhill Mountain Bike Championship ten times. Sounds like the French have bampots just like we do!