Coates predicts Michelin tyre will lead to “very busy” qualifying sessions in 2017

Max Coates believes the Renault UK Clio Cup’s switch to Michelin tyres for 2017 could force drivers to re-think their plan of attack in qualifying after trying the French company’s rubber for the first time.
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Coates, third in last year’s championship with two pole positions, sampled the tyre at Donington Park earlier this week.

He believes drivers will now be able to put in more ‘flying laps’ during a qualifying session due to the Michelin tyre’s extra durability.

The Ciceley Motorsport ace commented: “Before on most tracks you’d get two ‘banzai’ laps out of a new pair of fronts but with these it’s more likely we’ll see them holding up for five or even more laps before their performance starts to tail off.

“That could really have an effect in qualifying as drivers will be able to keep on it for longer – it could make for a very busy 30 minutes in qualifying and you may need to re-think things in regards to timing your run.

“In some ways it takes a bit of pressure off because you have more chances of getting in the ultimate lap but, of course, ideally you wanted to set a mega time in your first few laps to keep as much life in the tyres for the races.”

Each UK Clio Cup qualifying session lasts for 30 minutes. In it a driver’s best lap time decides his or her starting grid position for the first of two races. Their second best time is then used to determine where they line up on the grid for race two.

Each driver is permitted two new pairs of Michelin tyres per race event (to cover qualifying and both races). These are for use on the front of the car while there is no limit on the number of tyres that can be fitted to the rear of the car.