Dakar 2012: A test bench for BFGoodrich and Cooper
It's a good year for these two brands : BF Goodrich fitted the Mini All4 Racing driven by French driver Stéphane Peterhansel, who came first in the general league table, and Cooper, who fitted the Toyota Land Cruiser of Spanish driver Xavier Foj, who came first in the modified production model category. This was a great opportunity to demonstrate their expertise in the all-terrain tyre domain as they cross Argentina, Chilli and Peru, and, improve their range of general public 4x4 tyres.
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Robust and versatile tyres
Wet, dusty, sandy, or stony off-road tracks, dunes or rocks… The third Pan-American Dakar put tyres to the test. To face such conditions, their most important quality is obviously durability. But tyres must also be versatile, since teams are only entitled to one type of tyre during the entire race.
Their only possibility to adapt tyres to rally conditions is to juggle with the tyre pressure. The stony tracks oblige them to use high pressures (3 bars) to protect the tyres against damage and limit the risk of punctures. But, crossing dunes requires a reduced tyre pressure (1.4 bars) to improve grip.
Dakar tyres are subjected to high mechanical stresses. A prototype such as the Mini All4 Racing develops more than 300 HP for a weight exceeding 2 tonnes. After going airborne, in some cases tyres must withstand loads exceeding … 3 tonnes when landing!
A first major test for BFGoodrich and Cooper
These extreme conditions give tyre manufacturers a fantastic opportunity to test their best all-terrain tyres.
This is true of BFGoodrich, a long standing partner of the Paris-Dakar rally. Their first victory dates back to 1999 with the French Jean-Louis Schlesser driving a Renault buggy fitted with Baja T/A tyres. Unbeaten since 2002, the American tyre manufacturer wins it's tenth consecutive Dakar with French driver Stéphane Peterhansel, driving a Mini All4 Racing fitted with the All-Terrain + tyre.
Cooper also did a good job. They fitted the Toyota Land Cruiser KXR driven by Xavier Foj, who finished first in the T2 category (modified production models). The Toyota was equiped with the new Discoverer S/T Maxx, which will be available to buy in the coming weeks.
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