May Recap: Michelin in FE, WRC, WEC, MotoGP

May 28, 2019

May Recap: Michelin in FE, WRC, WEC, MotoGP

May 28, 2019

As May comes to a close, and with four of Michelin Motorsport’s five major global championships racing or testing this weekend, today marks a good day to look back at the month just passed.

Both the FIM MotoGPTM World Championship and ABB FIA Formula E Championship raced twice. Meanwhile each of the FIA World Endurance and World Rally Championships raced once. IMSA’s Mid-Ohio recap is linked here.

For past Michelin Motorsport check-ins from earlier 2019 races, see these links (April 30, April 1March 11).

FIA WEC
08 ALONSO Fernando (spa), BUEMI Sebastien (che), NAKAJIMA Kazuki (jpn), Toyota TS050 hybrid lmp1 team Toyota Gazoo racing, action during the 2019 FIA WEC World Endurance Championship, 6 Hours of Spa from May 2 to 4 , at Spa Francorchamps, Belgium – Photo Frederic Le Floc’h / DPPI

FIA World Endurance Championship competitors met nearly every weather condition possible at the Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps to kick off the month (Michelin race recap).

The track looked like a winter wonderland several hours before the race start with snow covering the track in the Belgian Ardennes forest. Then once the race started, there was a mix of sun, clouds, icy rain, sun again, then rain and snow showers. Eventually the race was called early with 11 minutes remaining on the clock.

“We saw a whole year’s weather in the space of just six hours at Spa-Francorchamps this afternoon,” said Jérôme Mondain, the manager of Michelin’s endurance racing programs. “The range of conditions was so wide that all the types of tire we had in Belgium were used during the race, and our technical teams responded impeccably to the constantly changing, unpredictable weather.”

Through the conditions, Michelin swept all four categories, including in the LMP2 class where it won its first race since 2013 (also at Spa). Toyota’s No. 8 trio of Fernando Alonso, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima won overall and in LMP1. DragonSpeed took the LMP2 win, while Aston Martin (GTE-Pro) and Dempsey Proton Porsche (GTE-Am) claimed the GT class victories.

ABB FIA Formula E Championship
Lucas di Grassi (BRA), AUDI Sport ABT Schaeffler Formula E team during 2019 BMW i Berlin E-Prix, 25/5/2019 in Berlin at Tempelhof flughafen, Germany. Photo : Jérôme Cambier/Michelin/2EP

Formula E raced twice more this month in Monaco and Berlin, which were fairly different circuits in terms of grip.

Monaco isn’t particularly hard-wearing for the bespoke Formula E Michelin® Pilot® Sport tires. The circuit, a truncated version of the Formula 1 layout, is the shortest on the FE calendar. Meanwhile Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport is regarded as Formula E’s most abrasive circuit, due to its ribbed concrete surface.

Past Formula E series champions Jean-Eric Vergne (Monaco; recap) and Lucas di Grassi (Berlin; recap) claimed the victories. Vergne, of DS Techeetah, became the first driver to win twice this season. Di Grassi scored Audi’s second straight Berlin win.

Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA), DS Automobiles Techeetah during 2019 BMW i Berlin E-Prix, 25/5/2019 in Berlin at Tempelhof flughafen, Germany. Photo : Jérôme Cambier/Michelin/2EP

Vergne has moved into the points lead as he seeks to defend his Formula E championship, by six markers over di Grassi with three races to go. Andre Lotterer, Antonio Felix da Costa and Robin Frijns remain within striking distance as just 21 points cover the top five. DS Techeetah holds a 25-point lead over Audi in the team’s championship.

MotoGPTM
MARC MARQUEZ SPA \rREPSOL HONDA TEAM \rHONDA\rMotoGP\r GP France 2019 (Circuit Le Mans)\r17-19.05.2019\rphoto: MICHELIN

Marc Marquez doubled up in the two most recent MotoGPTM races in Jerez and Le Mans. This places the Repsol Honda rider back to the top of the championship following his second and third wins of the season.

His Le Mans win was Honda’s 300th victory in the premier level of motorcycles, and follows on nicely from when he won Michelin’s 400th victory at this level last year.

Marquez used the MICHELIN Power Slicks softs for front and rear in Le Mans in cool, chilly conditions. At Jerez, he’d used the hards for both front and rear.

Marquez now leads the standings by eight points over Andrea Dovizioso of Ducati.

WRC

Toyota’s Ott Tanak captured Rally Chile, an event new to the FIA World Rally Championship calendar. The event featured what was termed “a blend of RallyGB, Rally Finland and Rally Australia” in Michelin’s post-rally recap and had muddy, damp and drying conditions throughout.

Through six rallies, Tanak, Sebastien Ogier (Citroen) and Thierry Neuville (Hyundai) have all won two apiece. The three are in a hotly contested battle for the championship with Ogier on 122 points, Tanak on 112 and Neuville on 110. Ogier’s edge comes with five podium finishes in six rallies, while Tanak and Neuville have four apiece.

What’s Next

  • FIA WRC: May 30-June 2, Rally Portugal
  • IMSA: June 1, Detroit
  • FIA WEC: June 2, Le Mans Test Day; June 15-16, 24 Hours of Le Mans
  • MotoGPTM : June 2, Mugello, Italy
  • Formula E: June 22, Bern, Switzerland

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