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Australian Tyre Dealer | vol. 21 | issue 3 | June/July 2012

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CONTENTS TD is a publication of the Motor Trades Association of Queensland (MTA Queensland) and is endorsed by the Australian Tyre Dealers and Retreaders Association (ATDRA)

3.

Print Post approved PPP444752/0002

18. Road safety a high priority

editors word

FEATUREs 12. The rise of Ekoprena for tyre manufacturer

The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the ATDRA or any State or Territory constituent body, or of the Publishers and they take no responsibility for them, except where specifically indicated.

26. The growth of hp market yields plenty of choice

Hankook Tyre officially open their New South Wales distribution centre in the Sydney suburb of Eastern Creek, p. 4.

Industry News 4.

Head Office Building 8/2728 Logan Road Eight Mile Plains Qld 4113 PO Box 4530 Eight Mile Plains QLD 4113 Tel: 07 3237 8777 Fax: 07 3844 4488 Toll Free: 1800 177 951 Email: atd@mtaq.com.au Website: www.mtaq.com.au

Hankook’s two new distribution centres

Goodyear, Conti take top spots in product awards

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EfficientGrips’s for SUVs

8.

Goodyear carries world’s fastest hybrid truck

10 Proper inflation vital for road safety

EDITOR Michael Taylor

National competition generous on winners

ART DIRECTOR Marco Ilinic

11. Evidence builds in trade secrets

Two Malaysian rubber-producing companies are trialing the manufacture of Ekoprena, a rubber that improves a tyre’s rolling resistance and wet grip, p. 12.

case ADVERTISING Jeff Dunlop Telephone: 07 3237 8777 Mobile: 0422 075 007 Facsimile: 07 3844 4488 Email: jeffd@mtaq.com.auu

Innovation 14. Natural rubber alternatives researched 16. New design, different compound

EDITORIAL Enquiries should be made to: The Editor 07 3237 8777 or email atd@mtaq.com.au

upgrades UHP tyre 17. Tyre giant set to unveil new product

OVERSEAS NEWS

ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION RATES: $45.60 (inc gst) in Australia $99.00 overseas (airmail)

20. China reaches for international

China’s rubber industry calls for at least half of it’s tyre makers to be making fuel-efficient tyres within three years, p. 20.

standards

Carbon black production on a roll in China

21. Ready for EU tyre labelling deadline

MTA-Queensland ABN: 740 289 338 48

22. French tyre maker supports labelling 24. Repairer beware 25. Contaminated tread stock results in recall

Sport 28. Kumho supports young rally drivers

Steve Mackenzie secured the Rallyschool.com.au Australian Junior Rally Challenge victory in an all two-wheel drive field, p. 28.

30. Webber wins Monaco Formula One 20120005 20120005

“Australian Tyre Dealer” welcomes submissions of information and prepared articles, but their publication will be at its sole discretion. Material appearing in “Australian Tyre Dealer” is copyright, and reproduction in whole or part without the Publisher’s written consent is prohibited. “Australian Tyre Dealer” is circulated to tyre dealers, senior executives of companies which supply the tyre industry, and representatives of relevant industry groups.

Grand Prix 32. Silver Stripes at WSBK event

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Editor’s word

I

know it’s pedantic but every time I approach my vehicle I do a quick visual on all four tyres before I jump in and drive off.

Michael Taylor Editor

For two and a half years now I have been driving on Marangoni Maxo 4x4s, 245/70 R16 107H’s that are fitted to my 2005 Kia Sorento wagon. From when they were fitted it took me a good year to work out the ‘perfect’ tyre air pressure vis-a-vis tread wear taking in to account the weight of the car, how often and where I drive it, rotations, balancing, etc. - and I’ve found that 42 psi is the ideal pressure in my situation. I am trying like hell to make the tyres last as long as possible, so every time after I fill up I use my tyre gauge to check the pressure and compare it to the servo’s (which thus far have been equally spot on) and if the pressure is even a fraction less than 42, I add the air. About a month ago before heading off to work I noticed my front left tyre ‘looked’ lower than usual, and as I pass a servo every morning, pulled in for the check.

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A lady had just pulled in before me and she headed straight for the air. I parked next to her and got out of the car and she said, “won’t be a tick, just got to put air in my front left tyre, it looks low!” “What a coincidence,” I said, “same tyre as me”. “Crikey, its only on 17!” she roared as she checked her pressure, then took it up to 32. She then handed me the contraption and said; “now I want to know how low yours is.” I checked with my own gauge and it matched the servo’s. “Hmm, 39,” I said. “What should it be?” she asked. I told her “42” and she asked me how I could visually determine the tyre was low with only a difference of 3 psi. “Paranoia is highly underrated,” I said. See the interesting short article on page 10 that is about a study comparing proper tyre inflation with respect to road safety.


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INDUSTRY NEWS Hankook’s two new distribution centres Hankook Tyre Australia recently opened new distribution centres in Sydney and Melbourne.

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resident and chief marketing officer of Hankook Tyre, Hyun Shick Cho, officially opened the New South Wales distribution centre in the Sydney suburb of Eastern Creek during a recent visit to Australia. Mr Cho said the company is investing in further growth in the local market as it seeks to become the number one brand amongst Australia’s independent tyre retailers. “With these new distribution centres Hankook Tyre is able to guarantee same-day delivery to tyre shops in the major metropolitan areas of Sydney and Melbourne, which will help our retailers convert enquiryinto-sale more often,” said Mr Cho.

“With this new distribution centre we are improving our dispatch and delivery service levels to ensure reliability of supply to all our valuable customers in New South Wales” The Eastern Creek depot and a new warehouse at Campbellfield in Melbourne will eventually hold in stock a combined total of more than 120,000 tyres. The Campbellfield warehouse is operated by the Toll Group, and national business manager Rob Simpson says its operation has been refined based on Toll’s long experience in the tyre industry. “We understand that market because we operated in it for

many years, and we know that small tyre dealers need the same level of service as the bigger retailers,” said Mr Simpson. YCH Logistics, the Singapore-based company that now has an Australian network of more than 72,000 square metres of automated supply chain facilities and an operating capacity of more than 100,000 pallets across the main hubs in key Australian cities, operates the Eastern Creek warehouse. Since the commencement of operations in April the new central depot has already enhanced the speed and accuracy of tyre supply to New South Wales dealers and consumers. “With this new distribution centre we are improving our dispatch and delivery service levels to ensure reliability of supply to all our valuable customers in New South Wales,” said Hankook Tyre Australia managing director, Paul Park.

Goodyear, Conti take top spots in product awards In its annual product awards announcement, influential British automotive magazine Auto Express names the Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2 as ‘the best summer tyre’; Conti’s ContiWinterContact TS 830 P wins ‘winter’ title.

Hankook Tire president and chief marketing officer Hyun Shick Cho (left) with Hankook Tyre Australia managing director Paul Park at the company’s warehouse in the Sydney suburb of Eastern Creek.

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oodyear’s Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2 and Continental’s ContiWinterContact TS 830 P have won the UK’s Auto Express best summer tyre and continued page 6


TM

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INDUSTRY NEWS best winter tyre crowns in the magazine’s 2012 product awards.

Mercedes-Benz CLS, Audi A4 and Porsche 911 Carrera 2.

In the summer category, reviewers praised the Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2’s “great all round performance, summing is up simply as “safe and secure.” Michelin’s Pilot Sport 3 and Pirelli’s P Zero were also commended. Auto Express pointed out that the Michelin tyre benefited from what reviewers perceived to be a change in direction at the company towards an increased focus on wet performance. The Pirelli P Zero was described as a long running former test winner that could show “many more modern competitors the way.”

Michelle Fisher, Goodyear UK brand manager said: “Our Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2 tyre continues to prove its worth as an increasing number of independent experts discover its strengths, on both wet and dry road surfaces.

While the much lauded Continental ContiWinterContact TS 830 P won the product award gong overall and was described as showing “no weaknesses whatsoever”, it was interesting to see that two all-season tyres (The Hankook Optimo 4S and the Vredestein Quatrac 3) were also honoured alongside second place Goodyear UltraGrip Performance 2. This year’s awards focused on products in 225/45 R17. Goodyear representatives say they are “delighted” the Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2 has been named as the “best summer tyre” in the 2012 Auto Express Product Awards. The win follows the tyre’s first place ranking in the highly popular automotive magazine’s “Big Tyre Test” in September 2011. The Auto Express accolade complements the impressive list of original equipment fitments including exclusive high performance vehicles such as the 6

“It is a clear recognition that the Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2 is being seen as one of the best tyres on the market today, and being named as the ‘Best Tyre’ by such an influential automotive magazine really adds credibility to our message.” The Goodyear UltraGrip Performance 2 was named as a “commended” product in the winter tyre category.

EfficientGrips’s for SUVs Goodyear recently launched the EfficientGrip SUV tyre in Portugal, with a worldwide rollout planned for the tyre to be an option on the Range Rover Evoque.

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ollowing the launch of its award-winning EfficientGrip passenger car tyre, Goodyear chose Portugal to showcase its new EfficientGrip SUV tyre, aimed squarely at the 4x4 and SUV market, from luxury, full-size vehicles through standard, compact and sub-compact ranges. The 4x4/SUV market in Europe is growing and is expected to reach several million vehicles by 2014, meaning increased demand for specialised 4x4/SUV tyres that combine performance and fuel economy. Hugues Despres, Brand Director EMEA at Goodyear said that as SUV and 4x4 vehicles become more economical and car manufacturers work hard to meet, and exceed, ever-stricter environmental standards, Goodyear has worked as hard to ensure its tyres support this ongoing drive. “The result is the Goodyear EfficientGrip SUV tyre - a tyre that supports fuel economy, delivers advance features designed to improve wet and dry handling and braking, while ensuring a smoother, quieter ride,” said Mr. Despres. continued page 8


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INDUSTRY NEWS The EfficientGrip SUV tyre has already attracted the attention of some famous marques. In tests against its predecessor, the EfficientGrip SUV tyre delivered lower fuel consumption, lower CO2 emissions and a quieter ride. These tests also showed that the new tyre reduced the vehicle’s braking distance by several metres, which was achieved by including 3D blades in the tread, designed to improve the tyre’s overall contact with the road. To improve wet grip, an advance tread compound is tightly woven into the tyre’s structure, which uses traction resins to further enhance wet braking. The noise is minimised by utilising an optimised block design and sequence. The Goodyear EfficientGrip SUV tyre also utilises the company’s innovative FuelSaving Technology and is constructed using a special polymer, which is designed to improve rolling resistance, thus saving fuel and reducing CO2 emissions. Design of the new tyre involved using the latest developments in IT, with the EfficientGrip SUV’s uniform stiffness and the pressure distribution in its footprint built on computer-optimised models, resulting in a tyre that offers better mileage. Finally, the tyre is lighter than its predecessor, which Goodyear says provides drivers with improved steering precision and handling. Although the EfficientGrip SUV tyre is relatively new to the market, it has already attracted the attention of some famous marques. For example, Goodyear says that Audi 8

has selected the new 16” tyre (size 215/65 R16 98V) for its Q3 model. Another prestigious fitment is to the Range Rover Evoque, which went on sale in Q4 2011 and was specifically designed to attract a new group of customers to the Range Rover brand, as well as focussing on increasingly stringent CO2 emissions and fuel economy requirements. The Evoque has already won more than 100 international awards. The Goodyear EfficientGrip SUV tyre for the Evoque is size 235/55 R19 105V has been chosen for the Prestige model of the Evoque, plus it will be offered as an option on all Evoque models across the world, outside of North America.

Goodyear carries world’s fastest hybrid truck Goodyear supplied specially made tyres that enabled Volvo’s ‘Mean Green’ hybrid truck to notch up two world speed records.

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oodyear has announced that Mean Green, the world’s fastest hybrid truck, has broken two world speed records on its tyres. On 27 April, 2012 at Wendover Airfield in Utah, USA, the Volvo-built truck, owned and driven by Boije

Ovebrink, broke records in the standing kilometre and flying kilometre international speed standards. In the standing kilometre, the truck starts off from a standstill, spanning the 1,000m course in one direction and then the other. The average speed from the two runs, noted as the official figure, was 153.252km/h, beating the record Mean Green previously held of 152.253km/h. In the flying kilometre, the truck is in motion prior to spanning the defined 1,000-metre course in each direction. Mean Green averaged 236.577km/h, smashing the previous record of 218.780km/h. Mean Green pumps out 2,100 horsepower (1,566kW) and nearly 5,000lb-ft (6,770Nm) torque – of which, 200 horsepower (149kW) and 885lb-ft. (1,198Nm) of torque come from the electric motor. Aerodynamics also plays a vital role in achieving top speed, so Volvo designers selected a North American VN cab and sculpted the optimal aerodynamic shape for the truck. Tyres capable of withstanding the enormous stresses are essential and Goodyear has worked closely with Volvo on the project and specially developed the tyres for Mean Green. They are hand-built and based on 495/45R22.5 Marathon Long Haul Drive truck carcasses, capable of withstanding the enormous torque and speeds that Mean Green develops.


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• Jumper leads

• Foot pumps • Wheel trims

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9


INDUSTRY NEWS Proper inflation vital for road safety A recent tyre study has determined that regular tyre checks are necessary despite the presence of TPMS.

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study by America’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has determined that vehicles driving on underinflated by more than 25 percent are three times more likely to be involved in a crash related to tyre problems than vehicles with proper inflation. And tyres underinflated up to 25 percent run the risk of overheating, leading to failure, and at the very least adversely affecting handling and tread life. The study looked at crash data from 2005-2007, before tyre-pressure monitoring systems were required to be installed on all vehicles. The systems mandated for the 2008

model year alert drivers if any tyre drops 25 percent or more below the recommended inflation level of your vehicle. Tyre pressure monitoring systems are designed to alert a driver of a tyre losing air pressure and are not intended to be used as a substitute for monthly tyre pressure checks.

Tyre problems in the pre-crash phase were more likely to lead in rollover in SUVs than other types of vehicles. The study also found that five percent of all vehicles studied experienced tyre problems immediately before a crash, with 66 percent of those representing passenger cars, 17 percent being SUVs, and the rest being pickups and vans. Half of the tyre-related crashes involved a single vehicle, and just 31 percent of single vehicle crashes were not related to tyres.

This shows that tyre problems are evident in the pre-crash phase, which has a very small window for attempting a crash avoidance maneuver. Rollovers are more common among SUVs that experienced a tyre problem before a crash - 45 percent rolled over. On the other hand, passenger cars, pickups, and vans experiencing tyre problems had fewer than a 25 percent incidence of rollover. Overall, the study concluded that tyre problems in the pre-crash phase were more likely to lead in rollover in SUVs than other types of vehicles.

National competition generous on winners A couple of Bridgestone tyre customers recently got a lot more than they bargained for.

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hen 67 year-old Harry Wickman from New South Wales and 58 year-old Ian Allan from Victoria walked into their local Bridgestone outlets recently, neither of them expected to come out with anything more than new tyres. So it was a great surprise when they were told their tyre purchase had won them each a brand new Toyota Camry Hybrid – as part of a competition run nationally through the Bridgestone dealer network. “It was certainly a big surprise when I found out I had won a new car worth more than $30,000,” said Harry, who purchased four Bridgestone Potenza tyres from Bridgestone Select Liverpool. “I think it’s safe to say that I’ll definitely continue going back now!” Ian had a similar experience after purchasing tyres at his local Bridgestone outlet.

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“The newly released Australian built Camry Hybrid model is fitted with Ecopia as original equipment” “It’s been a long time since I’ve had a new car so my wife Jeanette and I are extremely excited,” he said. Both Toyota Camry Hybrids are equipped with Bridgestone’s flagship Ecopia tyres, which reduce a vehicle’s impact on the environment without compromising on quality or safety. “We chose the Toyota Camry Hybrid as the prize vehicle to celebrate the fact that the newly released Australian built Camry Hybrid model is fitted with Ecopia as original equipment,” said Stanley Toh, Bridgestone Australia’s General Manager of Marketing. “This says a lot about the quality of Ecopia and what this tyre can offer eco-conscious drivers. “We’re really pleased to have been able to reward two loyal Bridgestone customers with such a significant prize.”

Evidence builds in trade secrets case When it all came crashing down on him, a senior scientist at Bridgestone made a poor decision to steal company information by transferring files to his personal computer.

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former senior scientist for Bridgestone Americas has been charged in Akron (Ohio, USA) federal district court with stealing trade secrets from his ex-employer, according to the U.S. District Attorney’s office in Cleveland. An ‘information’ was filed April 26 charging Xiaorong Wang, 50, of Hudson, Ohio, with stealing proprietary and confidential research information from the Bridgestone Americas

Center for research and Technology in Akron. According to a spokesman for the district attorney’s office, an ‘information’ is an indictment brought by the district attorney without the involvement of the grand jury. In the document, the defendant admits there is enough evidence against him to lead a grand jury to issue an indictment, the spokesman said. Mr. Wang joined Bridgestone in Akron in late 1995, and was senior scientist and project leader there in April 2010, when he was dismissed for sending abusive emails to a colleague in Japan. On April 14 and 15, 2010, Mr. Wang allegedly transferred trade-secret information into his personal laptop computer, according to the information and an affidavit filed by an FBI agent in March 2012. Among the items Mr. Wang allegedly copied were files on development of new polymers for racing tyres, on planned process changes to butadiene rubber production in Japan, and on the commercialization of guayule rubber.

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The rise of

Ekopren Two Malaysian rubber-producing companies are running pilot trials in the manufacture of Ekoprena, a new type of rubber substance that was initially developed by Sumitomo, which amongst other things improves a tyre’s rolling resistance and wet grip.

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t’s now been six years since Sumitomo Rubber introduced its first eco-oriented tyre containing a form of epoxidised natural rubber (ENR) called Ekoprena. ENR is derived from the partial epoxidation of the natural rubber molecule, resulting in a totally new type of elastomer. The epoxide groups are randomly distributed along the natural rubber molecule. Epoxidation results in a systematic increase in the polarity and glass transition temperature; these increases are reflected in the vulcanizate properties. Property changes with increasing level of epoxidation include: an increase in damping; a reduction in swelling in hydrocarbon oils; a decrease in gas permeability; an increase in silica reinforcement; improved compatibility with polar polymers like polyvinyl chloride; reduced rolling resistance and increased wet grip. Despite Sumitomo’s success with this product, Ekoprena remains an unknown quantity in much of the wider tyre world. The rubber’s developer, the Malaysian Rubber Board, intends to change this. 12

Last year it appointed two companies to produce Ekoprena in quantities sufficient for its commercialization. Paul Brown, head of the Advanced Materials and Product Design Unit at the Tun Abdul Razak Research Centre, the UK-based research centre run by the Malaysian Rubber Board, said that commercial production of Ekoprena would get under way this year. “Until now Ekoprena has been restricted by limited production,” Mr. Brown said. “It was only being manufactured in a pilot plant scale by the LGM (the Malaysian Rubber Board), and over the years there has been various interest in the material, but the 200 tonne per year production limit meant it would be hard for major tyre makers to implement Ekoprena in a full testing programme.

solution SBR (styrene-butadiene rubber) was utlilised for in low rolling resistance tyres, as brought out initially by Michelin. Sumitomo’s developers worked on an Ekoprena-based tread compound for the Enasave ES801 tyre. Later, in the Enasave 97 tyre, they looked at replacing the other synthetic rubber parts and oil-derived components. They replaced the casing fibres with natural fibres and processed oils with natural oils; they removed the butyl liner and used one of the properties of the NR (natural rubber) to help make a liner. The sidewall, which would normally probably have been a natural rubber due to the dying blend, was changed so that there was no synthetic rubber in the tyre. Therefore the whole tyre – all the rubber and materials – were grown on a tree, even if some had been chemically modified. “With Sumitomo, this was a small company saying ‘look what we can do’ and it generated interest in Ekoprena,” said Mr. Brown.

“With an output of only a couple of hundred tonnes a year, you can’t actually produce that many tyres,” he added.

“On the back of that happening, the Malaysian government, through the LGM, came to an agreement with two rubber producers in Malaysia – Mardec Berhad and Felda Rubber Industries – to make the material.

The first company to explore Ekoprena’s potential was Sumitomo Rubber Industries, which realised that the unique properties of Ekoprena at 25 per cent modification in some ways matched the

“At the moment Mardec is running pilot trials at its plant - as is Felda - and getting ready to come on stream at the end of the second quarter of this year or the beginning of the third,” he added.


na “These plans involve producing 300,000 tonnes per annum by 2020 - quite a large scale,” he said. He explained that two companies were selected for commercial production because it was important to have more than one company producing the material. “The tyre majors will be a lot happier knowing that there are multiple sources to rely on,” said Mr. Brown. “In addition to providing greater security of supplies, they can make a blend of the sources to improve consistency,” he said. Although its performance in the area of low rolling resistance is Ekoprena’s signature quality, Mr. Brown said that the substance enables a wet grip at least as good as synthetic rubber. “Another benefit is that the oils in Ekoprena won’t have PAH in them, as they’re not aromatic. Consequently, they will by default not fail that particular regulation,” he said.

As for price, Ekoprena will most likely always remain a premium product.

“Ekoprena is always going to be more expensive than latex-grade rubber.

“At the moment it’s selling into a niche market – you’re paying to be seen to be green,” Mr. Brown said.

“It will not be cheaper than the synthetic equivalent until oil prices get very, very high.

“But even in full production, I suspect it will be a little bit more expensive than the alternative.

“And if oil prices become very high, the demand for natural rubber will be higher and that will put prices up anyway,” he explained.

“Part of the issue with costing is that you are working with latex grade rubber, which is more expensive than a general grade rubber to start with, and then we do some chemistry on it before we get to the dry rubber stage. “Tyre grade rubber coagulates before it is collected and with latex grade you have to collect it before it coagulates, so you have to go around and collect it a few hours after you tap it. “So your labour is high, you have to go around twice a day – once to tap, once to collect – and that’s an extra cost factor. “It means a person can’t get to as many trees. “So latex is naturally more expensive and then it’s chemically treated, which is an extra factor.

Even with a price tag above synthetic rubber, Ekoprena’s qualities ensure it will be well received. Mr. Brown said that legislation and increased efforts to reduce fuel consumption mean interest in the product is high. “I’m sure the same benefits could be seen in the truck tyre market, where the whole sector is far more fuel aware,” he said. “Car buyers tend more to buy on price but I think, with tyre labeling coming out, fleet buyers are going to be interested and company car operators are going to start to be more interested, because it doesn’t matter who’s running the car - if it’s going to be five per cent more fuel efficient then it will save money,” Mr. Brown concluded.

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Mr. Brown said that the two companies are aiming for around 12,000 tonnes per annum by the end of this year and scale-up plans already exist.

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INNOVATION Natural rubber alternatives researched Apollo Vredestein, manufacturer of tyres for cars, motorcycles, bicycles and agricultural applications, is involved in research into sources of natural rubber as a partner in the EU-PEARLS project. The objective of the project is to find a European alternative to natural rubber from the rubber tree. Natural rubber is indispensable to many industries, including the tyre industry, in which Apollo Vredestein is a major player. With many applications it is not possible to simply replace natural rubber with a synthetic variant. Natural rubber is currently extracted from the rubber tree, which grows mostly in Asia. Rising demand and a falling

number of providers have led to a growing shortage of natural rubber. The sensitivity of the rubber tree to diseases such as the South American Leaf Blight is an additional threat. An appearance of this disease in Southeast Asia would drastically increase the world rubber deficit. To reduce dependence on the rubber tree, there is a need for an alternative on the European market. EU-PEARLS is a joint project between several European research organizations and industrial partners that focuses on research into two plants, the Russian dandelion and the desert plant guayule. The goal is to make it possible to produce natural rubber in Europe. Finding suitable conditions for the

Both the Russian dandelion and guayule are a good alternative to the rubber tree in terms of their properties.

A guayule plant

growth of these plants in Europe, optimizing the yield and quality of the natural rubber, and designing the ideal extraction methods are all important components of the research. The ultimate aim is an optimized use of the raw material in finished products such as tyres and other rubber articles. Another advantage of these two new sources is that the natural rubber extracted from them does not contain proteins, which can cause allergic reactions. One to six per cent of the world’s population is currently allergic to natural rubber from the rubber tree. Initial studies show that both the Russian dandelion and guayule are a good alternative to the rubber tree in terms of their properties. Guayule is already used to produce biomass on a large scale in Spain. The rubber from the Russian dandelion appears to be easier to extract, however. In the coming period, the research will therefore focus on the optimization of the growth development and growth speed of the Russian dandelion so as to increase its content of natural rubber available for extraction.

Russian dandelion

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The research results will be presented in September 2012 during the closing conference of the EUPEARLS project in Wageningen (The Netherlands). For more information see www.eu-pearls.eu


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WESTERN AUSTRALIA


INNOVATION New design, different compound upgrades UHP tyre Falken’s new high performance tyre to supersede the FK452 was developed from compounds taken from the company’s race tyres and results in ‘big improvement’ with regards to wet grip.

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he successor to Falken’s flagship FK452 is the Azenis FK453, with an Australian launch yet to be announced. German-based Falken tyre development engineer, Sven Kruse, who is part of the Japanese tyre maker’s team, recently explained the qualities of the new high performance tyre. “The new FK453 is the successor to the FK452, however it is a complete new development,” said Mr. Kruse. “We’ve designed the tyre from scratch.” The tyre development engineer says Falken decided to design a completely new tyre rather than evolve the FK452 as it wished to employ the considerable knowledge it has gained through race tyre testing at the Nürburgring motor racing circuit in Germany. “We’ve developed the FK453 with new construction and new layers inside. It’s also got a new tyre shape – the FK453 is a bit rounder than the previous tyre but the shoulder area is a bit stiffer. This gives a better footprint, more rubber on the road. The compound we used in the FK453 is also completely new. It’s taken from our race tyres; we 16

tested a number of tyre compounds using Porsches at the Nürburgring. Our compounders selected a mixture of 2-3 compounds that they found worked really brilliantly,” Mr. Kruse said. In addition to the Nürburgring tests, Falken’s European team tested the Azenis FK453 on public roads throughout the region and private proving grounds. The “NUR-Spec” design the engineers came up with incorporates a more warp resistant casing and additional nylon-reinforced cover ply to increase high-speed stability.

A combination of tread pattern and compound changes has led to an eight per cent reduction over the FK452 in braking distance on wet surfaces. This construction is complemented by a rounder tyre shoulder, optimising pressure deployment on the tread area. Mr. Kruse is convinced that this all-new construction, paired with the

compound developed for the FK453, justifies Falken’s decision to begin with a clean sheet of paper – a process that took close to three years. “I now have the FK453 on my own company car and I can say that it’s a big improvement on the FK452, especially in regards to wet grip, which is amazing,” he said. “It’s greatly improved. Even the FK452 wasn’t bad – I had them on my car for two and a half years and they were very good, but the direct comparison between the previous tyres and the FK453 does show a real improvement,” he added. Falken reports that in contrast to the previous FK452, the new tyre’s dry handling has been improved by 25 per cent whilst handling on wet surfaces is enhanced by 30 per cent, delivering useful gains in control for lane changes and higher speed cornering. A combination of tread pattern and compound changes has led to an eight per cent reduction over the FK452 in braking distance on wet surfaces. To break the water film and deflect the water more effectively than conventional tread patterns, Falken has implemented three central tread grooves and integrated staggered sipes into the first tread bar on the tyre shoulder. In line with its other new products, Falken has increased the proportion


of silica included in the tyre’s compound. The strain characteristics of silica offer a larger contact area and better grip for the same tyre diameter, resulting in stronger interaction with the road surface. To achieve the lower noise levels now expected by consumers, even those running low profile tyres, Falken has also employed phase-shifted tread bars on the Azenis FK453. The rounder shoulder contributes to the significantly lower rolling and pass-by noise. Mr. Kruse said that the entire Azenis FK453 range is now sold in Europe, a line-up that totals 62 sizes, including a 20-inch version. The FK453 is also available in Y speed rated fitments suitable for use at up to 186mph or 300km/h – the first time Falken has offered this rating.

Tyre giant set to unveil new product Goodyear in the second half of this year is expected to unveil a new tyre technology that will increase fuel efficiency and lower CO2 output.

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oodyear has revealed that it is on the verge of introducing a new tyre technology “that will help car makers reach new levels of fuel efficiency and CO2 reductions in Europe”.

Goodyear says that the new technology “is expected to set standards in the tyre industry and will be officially recognised by an independent body”. No details have been made available about the new technology, which was developed by the Goodyear Innovation Centre in Luxembourg and which is set to be revealed in the second half of this year. The new product is currently in its final evaluation stage after “many hundreds of hours of research and development and it is one of two closely-guarded projects at Goodyear over the past year, with access to any information being heavily restricted”. Goodyear says that the new technology “is expected to set standards in the tyre industry and will be officially recognised by an independent body”. Hugues Despres, Goodyear Brand Director foe EMEA Consumer, said: “We are in the final phase of a project that will define the goals and ambitions of Goodyear on the environmental front for many years to come and we look forward to revealing more in the near future.”

17


Michelin’s substantial investment in road safety sees the company taking the lead in a number of initiatives as well as being awarded for its involvement.

I

n recognition of the company’s global commitment to road safety, Michelin in May received the Prince Michael International Road Safety Award at the inaugural Decade of Action for Road Safety Policy & Donor Forum, which was held in New York.

employees in countries where Michelin has manufacturing operations.

“Michelin is a global leader in road safety innovation not only through its product development but also in the field of care for its own employees,” said His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent, Royal Patron of The Commission for Global Road Safety.

In addition to these internal measures, over the past ten years Michelin has introduced a wide range of road safety programmes in the countries where it operates. While each programme is adapted to the local situation, and often conducted in or with host communities, all are designed to raise awareness about road-related dangers.

“But its wider corporate commitment to community safety and international

In the UK, the accident rate of the group’s car fleet has been more than halved since a comprehensive driving policy was implemented five years ago.

Road safety

a high priority for tyre manufacturer programs is an outstanding example to all businesses.” The tyre maker says this strong emphasis on road safety is part of its corporate social responsibility commitment. That’s because, Michelin explains, the company’s strategic focus on performance would be meaningless without an ongoing commitment to making roads safer around the world. Therefore, in addition to its tyres and their performance, Michelin supports measures to make driving safer, providing employees with training and promoting road safety to the general public. Addressing the challenge of road safety represents a concrete application of one of Michelin’s stated core values – respect for people. Every week, more than 7,000 people around the world are killed in work-related traffic accidents, including commuting to and from work. In response, Michelin has introduced internal campaigns promoting safer driving practices and more efficient travel management. Since 2009, all sales and marketing employees take part in road safety training courses. Information tools include a Road Safety awareness kit provided to all 18

Many of the programmes target young people, cyclists and pedestrians, who are considered to be the most vulnerable road users. One example is Michelin Junior Bike, an initiative that helps young people learn traffic regulations in a fun way and shows them the importance of wearing a helmet when riding a bicycle. Since 1998 in Italy alone, more than 184,000 children have participated in this programme, which in recent years has also been held in France and the UK and is now being introduced in more and more emerging countries. Other programmes include The Safest Way, which is aimed at schoolchildren and is organised in partnership with local councils in Italy and Brazil, and Fill up with Air, which educates motorists about the importance of maintaining the correct tyre pressure in order to ensure their own safety as well as that of other road users. Conducted in Europe since 2003, Fill up with Air has recently been introduced on other continents. Michelin states that all of these initiatives reflect its long-term commitment, which is also expressed in engagement through road safety charters signed at national

and European level. Michelin also supports programmes launched by the Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP), in particular its five-year pilot projects introduced in China, the ASEAN countries, India and Brazil. In May 2011, Michelin became one of the first companies to sign the Global Road Safety Commitment in support of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 20112020 launched by the United Nations. In 2012, the tyre maker is investing six million euros worldwide to support global road safety initiatives. The Policy & Donor Forum, organised by the Commission for Global Road Safety in partnership with the Road Safety Fund, addressed the role of road safety and sustainable transportation in contributing to shared goals for sustainable development, particularly in the context of the forthcoming “Rio+20” UN Conference on Sustainable Development. The Forum supported the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 and was intended to provide an opportunity for organisations and companies that contribute to road traffic injury prevention to exchange knowledge and experiences and build new partnerships.


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OVERSEAS NEWS China reaches for international standards China’s rubber industry association body is calling for the country to adopt a plan that includes the capability that at least half of China’s tyre makers would be making fuel-efficient tyres within three years.

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an Rende, chairman of the China Rubber Industry Association (CRIA), said that China has launched a plan to develop ‘green’ tyres. The plan calls for half of China’s tyre makers to be capable of manufacturing fuel-efficient tyres by the end of the country’s current five-year guideline in December 2015, and for half of these tyre makers’ output to be ‘green’ tyres by the same date. Accompanying this plan will be a national standard. According to Fan,

the CRIA is pushing for China to adopt a standard that, in addition to addressing the country’s own energy saving and environmental issues, will accommodate international regulations such as the EU tyre label and REACH. Selected tyre makers are expected to receive State subsidies in order to upgrade their technology; another aim may be to consolidate China’s tyre industry. The CRIA says China’s standards and label scheme will be introduced in stages, with voluntary standards being followed by mandatory. China may adopt the standards model used in South Korea, although it would utilise the

A unified standard is the first thing China needs when promoting the development of ‘green’ tyres.

limits and categories used in the EU standards. Yue Chunchen, general manager of CRIA member Double Coin Holdings, said that a unified standard is the first thing China needs when promoting the development of ‘green’ tyres. He said that this standard should combine the characteristics of the Chinese market while meeting international standards, and should cover two components, namely ‘green’ manufacturing and the tyre itself.

Carbon black production on a roll in China China is ramping up its exports of carbon black; the country has gone from number 3 in the world to number 1 as the world’s largest volume exporter of the product.

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hinese imports of carbon black into the United States increased more than 3,000% in 2011; Chinese import volumes rose from 701 tonnes in 2010 to 22,344 tonnes in 2011. This increase made China the second largest importer of carbon black into the US, behind only Canada, which imported 101,731 tonnes of carbon black into the US in 2011, down nearly 9% from 111,713 tonnes in 2010. Total US imports over this period rose 14%, from 151,311 tonnes in 2010 to 172,324 tonnes in 2011. After peaking in May 2011 at 4,278 tonnes, Chinese imports fell more or less steadily over the second half of 2011, and by February 2012 had fallen to just 114 tonnes.

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This increase coincides with a dramatic increase in Chinese exports overall; in fact, in 2011 China ranked as the world’s largest volume exporter of carbon black, up from third place in 2010 (behind Russia and Egypt). In addition to its exports to the US, China greatly increased its exports to India, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. India has initiated an anti-dumping investigation into Chinese carbon black imports. The increase in Chinese exports is being caused by several factors. Chinese coal tar prices have been quite low compared to crude oil, which means that Chinese carbon black producers that use coal tar oil as their feedstock have had a cost advantage over producers that use decant oil from crude (especially Asian producers importing US Carbon Black Oil). Among other factors, the lower cost of coal tar is being caused by high growth in Chinese steel production (as most Chinese steel is coke-based). In addition, the Chinese domestic market for carbon black was relatively sluggish over the course of 2010/2011, which, when combined with continued capacity expansion activity, left the industry with significant excess supplies in need of customers.

Ready for EU tyre labelling deadline Goodyear Dunlop has completed its testing of 70 tyre types comprising 1200 Goodyear tyres and 50 tyre types comprising 1000 Dunlop branded tyres, ready to meet the new EU tyre labelling regulation that takes full effect on 1 November 2012.

top 10 Chinese tyre manufacturers The top 10 Chinese tyre manufacturers in 2011 by turnover (in $AUD), according to the China Rubber Industry Association (CRIA), are as follows: 1. Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Co., Ltd. $4.5 billion 2. Cheng Shin Rubber Industry Co., Ltd. $3.5 billion

According to Goodyear Dunlop, the grading of all the company’s tyres took nearly a year and was done at the Goodyear Innovation Center in Luxemburg, which is the company’s main tyre research and development facility in the region. The new regulation requires each manufacturer to test tyres internally for the new gradings, based on strictly defined EU testing methods.

3. Giti Tire Investment Co., Ltd. $3.2 billion

Beyond labelling the tyres, Goodyear is actively engaged in information campaigns and is integrating the label into its customer facing marketing materials, including a clear overview of labels on websites and on printed materials.

8. Xingyuan Tyre Group Co., Ltd. $1.60 billion

4. Triangle Group Co., Ltd. $2.7 billion 5. Exquisite Group Co., Ltd. $1.76 billion 6. Double Coin Holdings Ltd. $1.73 billion 7. Aeolus Tyre Co., Ltd. $1.61 billion

9. Guizhou Tyre Co., Ltd. $1.20 billion 10. Shengtai Group Co., Ltd. $1.17 billion.

continued page 22

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OVERSEAS NEWS “We believe that the label will play an important role in helping consumers become more familiar with the key safety and environmental benefits of tyres”, says Xavier Fraipont, Director of Technology for Consumer Tyres. “As a result we took the grading of all our tyres in relation to the new regulation very seriously. In total some 100 engineers and operators were put on the job, as you can imagine, with 1200 tyres to test, we needed the manpower,” he added. In addition to the Goodyearbranded products, over 1,000 Dunlop tyres were tested. The tests also enabled engineers at Dunlop to re-affirm many of the 50 criteria the brand tests its tyres on, including dry braking, aquaplaning, cornering, dry and wet grip, handling and so forth. In support of its vision, Dunlop will introduce QR codes on all EU labels found on the tyres. The code will enable a growing group of smartphone users to get a full overview of the tyre’s capabilities. Non-smart phone owners will also be able to access the Dunlop site to obtain the information or ask more details from their tyre dealer and fitter.

French tyre maker supports labelling Michelin has called for the forthcoming European tyre labelling legislation to be at the forefront of the battle against road produced carbon emissions.

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iving a keynote address at the Low Vehicle Carbon Partnership’s annual conference at the Excel Exhibition Centre in London in 10 May, Michelin UK’s head of government and public affairs

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Tyres account for 20 per cent of a vehicle’s fuel consumption and are key to any strategy in helping reduce carbon emissions on the road. Darren Lindsey called for the tyre industry to take the lead in helping consumers make informed choices about the safest and most fuel efficient tyres on the market. He argued that by supporting proposals for new tyre labelling legislation, the automotive industry could play its role in arming consumers with the knowledge required to drive forward a meaningful reduction in road-based carbon emissions. Michelin believes that with 25 per cent of UK emissions attributable to domestic transport, the new

tyre labelling legislation offers the opportunity to increase the safety and environmental efficiency of road transport by promoting tyres that are safe, fuel efficient and with a low noise level. Mr. Lindsey said that tyres account for 20 per cent of a vehicle’s fuel consumption and are key to any strategy in helping reduce carbon emissions on the road. “By equipping consumers with the knowledge to help them make informed choices about choosing the safest, and most environmentally and economically efficient tyres, we as an industry can help effect necessary changes in behaviour,” he said. “Michelin welcomes tyre labelling regulation and the opportunity to help consumers make the right choices and help steer the tyre market in the right direction,” he added. Addressing the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership annual conference audience, Mr. Lindsey spoke of how tyre labelling performance criteria could help clarify for consumers the energy efficiency savings offered by different classes of tyre.


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OVERSEAS NEWS Repairer beware A controversial New York tyre repair legislation bill is gaining momentum, which would put tyre repair shops under pressure.

T

he New York Senate Transportation Committee has passed a bill that would impose a $500 per-violation penalty on tyre repair shops that fail to follow established repair procedures. Drafted and supported by the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA), the bill would impose fines on tyre stores that attempted to

repair tyres without removing them from the rim; did not inspect tyres for damage; and did not follow repair procedures recommended by tyre manufacturers. The bill sets forth the proper steps to effective tyre repair, including: • Cleaning the inner liner to remove any contaminants; • Buffing the inner liner to create a smooth, even surface; and • Filling the injured portion of the tyre with a cured rubber stem and properly installing either a tyre patch or a combination repair unit. The bill would also prohibit repairs on tyres with tread depths of less than 1.59 mm; that have damaged sidewalls, tread shoulders or belt edges; that have damaged portions larger than 6.35 mm; or

that either have existing improper repairs or where the damage overlaps an existing proper repair. “This legislation will help protect motorists from the risk of improperly repaired tyres,” said Dan Zielinski, RMA senior vice president.

The proposed legislation would impact independent business in New York and shift the liability on to the tyre dealer “Despite years of effort by tyre manufacturers, tyre dealer organizations and tyre repair materials manufacturers to educate repair shops about proper repair, too many improper repairs are performed.” Officials of America’s Tyre Industry Association (TIA) could not be reached immediately for comment, but TIA and its members are on the record as opposing the legislation. TIA holds that education and training, not legislation, are the only ways to ensure professional tyre repair standards. “This bill obviously will shift the burden of liability to our members,” said Roy Littlefield, TIA executive vice president, when the tyre repair bill was introduced in New York earlier this year.

1300 762 642 24


“It’s putting everything on the dealer — like putting up a red flag saying, ‘Sue Us!’”

Tread separation fears prompt recall

A former chairman of the Tread Rubber and Tyre Repair Materials Manufacturers’ Group (TRMG) is urging tyre wholesalers and retailers in New York to contact their state legislators and express their concern about the proposed piece of legislation. If this piece of legislation passes the state legislature, tyre dealers won’t be able to repair shoulder or sidewalls areas legally, according to Phil Nigh, head of sales at Elgi Rubber Co. Ltd. and a past chairman of the TRMG. “Restricting repair also will allow scrap tyres to begin to accumulate faster than ever,” Mr. Nigh said. As it stands, Mr. Nigh said, the proposed legislation would impact independent business in New York and shift the liability on to the tyre dealer.

Contaminated tread stock results in recall

• Cooper Discoverer LSX, size 265/70R17;

A non-standard rubber stock substance found its way into the tread stock mix of over 10,000 Cooper tyres, resulting in a recall due to possible tread separation.

• Del-Nat Delta A/S Sierradial, size 265/70R17;

hio (USA) based Cooper Tyre & Rubber Co. is recalling 10,236 radial SUV/light truck tyres sold under its own and three customer names because of possible tread separation issues.

• TBC Sigma Stampede Radial SUV, size P265/70R17.

O

• Mastercraft Courser HTR, size LT235/85R16;

• Del-Nat National A/S Commando, size 265/70R17; • Pep Boys Definity Dakota H/T, size P265/70R17; and

The recalled tyres are:

These tyres may have been manufactured with contaminated rubber in the tread compounds that could result in tread separation, Cooper told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

• Cooper Discoverer H/T, sizes P265/70R17 and LT235/85R16;

“We have received reports from several dealers regarding the subject tyres

FREECALL ORDER HOTLINE

developing early life tread separations when placed in service,” Cooper said in a June 5 letter to NHTSA. Cooper’s internal investigation showed a small amount of “non-standard” rubber stock was mixed inadvertently with the specified tread stock. The tyres were manufactured during the weeks of Dec. 11-17, 2011, and Jan. 1-7, 2012, the tyre maker said, at its Texarkana, Arkansas, plant. Cooper’s recall number is 156. Cooper began notifying owners of the tyres by the middle of June and started replacing them free of charge, including mounting and balancing, the company said. Cooper did not indicate whether it had received any reports of personal or property damage as a result of the suspect tyres.

1800 722 822 plus many more brands including Continental 25


The growth o Bridgestone’s long association with motorsport may have had some influence in the company’s consumer tyre line up, but the public also looks to the results of tyre tests as well as OE tyre fitment nominations. Competition in the high performance tyre market is growing as second line and budget brands bring aggressive performance patterns and larger diameter sizes to market. Established premium tyre makers, who previously had the market all to themselves, now share the performance segment with an abundance of lower-priced products. How can a premium tyre maker maintain its market share in such an environment?

products, and our tyres are fitted on some of the top marques, such as Audi, BMW and Aston Martin, to name just a few.

An original equipment association with prestige and sporting marques is therefore a marketing boon for any tyre maker.

“Our competitive advantage is that we’re producing for some of the best carmakers in the world.

Another, now heavily used selling point is motorsport affiliation. In this area, however, the communication manager exercises caution.

Andy Dingley, communications manager Bridgestone Europe, said that competition is greater than ever before, but he said a key element in Bridgestone’s retention of its strong position is its original equipment supply, especially for prestige vehicles.

“The leading vehicle manufacturers choose us for a reason - they trust us.” he added.

“We supplied tyres to Formula One for a number of years, and while there are undoubtedly lessons and experiences learned from that time it’s difficult to trace a direct line to any specific innovations,” said Mr. Dingley.

Mr. Dingley explained that in addition to magazine test results, a tyre’s selection as an original equipment fitment helps many consumers decide upon their choice of replacement tyre.

“There were certainly benefits – we put so much research and development into F1. Take Nano Pro-Tech as an example; there are likely to be some F1 influences, but it was developed independently.

“If motorists are not able to differentiate between products themselves then they will rely perhaps on test results and more likely rely on a brand’s association with original equipment prestige marques,” he said.

“We prefer to say that motorsport is part of our DNA, as demonstrated by our current involvement in MotoGP and the difference between us and some manufacturers is that we prefer to let the products do the talking

“The replacement high performance tyre market is a favourite with tyre makers everywhere these days, but we don’t compete head on,” said Mr. Dingley. “We devote a lot of resources to the development of original equipment 26

“Our original equipment business serves to substantiate our quality. “The second line and budget manufacturers don’t have this.


of hp market

yields plenty of choice and let others make up their minds – it’s a typical Japanese approach,” he said. The latest addition to Bridgestone’s high performance range is the Potenza Adrenalin RE002. The Japanese tyre maker describes this as being “designed with the sport conscious, thrill seeking driver in mind, possessing the ability to transform any car into a spirited, superior vehicle.” Mr. Dingley said that the aftermarket-only Adrenalin RE002 is positioned below the flagship Potenza S001 in terms of pricing and is aimed at the tuner market and motorists with a sporty spirit. “The Adrenalin RE002 represents the fun, quality end of the market and doesn’t compete with the S001,” he said. The Adrenalin size line-up is in the 15 to 16-inch slot and the silica based top compound, high grip shoulder blocks and solid contact centre rib design are all intended to work together to provide excellent dry handling. This tyre is fashioned to provide drivers with optimum traction, sharp steering performance and advanced cornering capabilities.

The S001, adds the tyre maker, offers the driver a second-to-none dynamic driving experience with its off-centre rib design that affords total high speed control. It maintains a maximised contact area that allows a comfortable connection with the road whilst sustaining steering precision and high grip outer shoulder blocks offering outstanding braking and cornering capabilities. At the start of the year, the Potenza S001 range was boosted with the addition of run-flat fitments. Historically, run-flat fitments have been criticised for their ride characteristics, and when asked about the difficulties of pairing ultra high performance with the requirements of run-flat technology, Mr. Dingley said that “there are always design issues to consider, and the S001 RFT was no different. However we employed new technologies to counter these. Our aim was to get within

five per cent of the standard product for vertical stiffness. To achieve this, it was necessary to reduce sidewall gauge thickness, and to do so we used different compounds and sidewall gums, and also employed cooling fins that utilise airflow to reduce sidewall temperature in flat mode. The combination of these measures made the comfort improvements possible.” Summing up the company’s current high portfolio for this segment, Mr. Dingley said that Bridgestone’s current high performance range allows the driver to fulfil the ultimate driving experience whilst still having the assurance of safety and comfort. “The innovative designs of the RE002, S001 and its run-flat equivalent illustrate what Bridgestone is capable of - effectively pairing high-performance and wet grip to produce a first-class tyre,” he concluded.

The top of the Bridgestone high performance range continues to be occupied by the Potenza S001, a tyre Bridgestone says embodies “acute accuracy, focusing on both quality execution and wet handling.”

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www.tyres4u.com.au plus many more brands including Continental 27


SPORTS Kumho supports young rally drivers Tyre maker Kumho continues its support of the ARC and future champions by supplying tyres, giving encouragement awards and providing significant rights fees.

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19-year -old Victorian driver has surprised himself in becoming the latest recipient of the Kumho Tyres Future Champions Award in round three of the Bosch Australian Rally Championship, the Brakes Direct International Rally of Queensland. Steve Mackenzie had never competed outside Victoria but the gamble paid off for the Ford Fiesta driver who secured the Rallyschool.com.au Australian Junior Rally Challenge victory in an all two-wheel drive field.

Kumho Tyres Future Champions Award winner, Steve Mackenzie

28 28

“I was hoping to do well but I didn’t expect to do that well,” said Mr. Mackenzie. “I want to make the step up to the Bosch ARC and the Rallyschool.com.au Australian Junior Rally Challenge is a great way to do it financially, plus you get a lot of support from the guys around you,” he added. The young Victorian was consistent across the two days of competition and made note of the difference in preparation to compete in unfamiliar territory.

Michael Busby and Dylan King. He is also slated for a Rallyschool. com.au prepared two wheel drive entry at the Bosch ARC final and his home event, Rally Victoria. “I’m not sure what the competition will be like in the final at Coffs Harbour - it would be nice to have a win though,” Mr. Mackenzie said. The Kumho Future Champions Award will return for the final heat of the RAJC, the Scouts Rally of South Australia, held July 28-29.

“Making sure my pace notes were accurate was a big challenge for me,” he explained.

The Kumho Future Champions Award has been designed to assist and encourage the young drivers taking part in the Rallyschool.com. au AJRC to step up to top levels of the sport and give them an incentive to continue in what is a demanding and expensive sport.

Mr. Mackenzie won a set of Kumho rally tyres valued at approximately $1000 and secured a spot in the RAJC final to be held at the Snake Racing Rally Coffs in October. This is where he will compete with two wheel drive winners from round one and two,

As control tyre supplier, Kumho is putting its backing into the Australian Rally Championship with a reduction in the cost of tyres, encouragement awards and significant rights fees going to the sport.

“We had a few moments where I went in a bit quicker than I should have been but it was a fairly smooth and trouble free weekend,” he said.


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SPORTS

Webber wins Monaco Formula One Grand Prix The tight twists and turns of the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix made tyre strategy a crucial element in enabling drivers to best position themselves in what ended up a six second difference between six cars.

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ed Bull driver Mark Webber became the 2012 Formula One season’s sixth different winner in six races, triumphing with a one-stop strategy in Monaco. With Monaco being the hardest circuit of the year to overtake on, the emphasis was on tyre strategy to help move drivers forward during the race. Every points scorer took only one pit stop, with the majority starting on Pirelli’s P Zero Red supersoft tyre – only Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel

30 30

and Force India’s Paul di Resta from the final top ten did not. Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery commented: “Once again we saw that the cars were all extremely closely matched, equalling each other on pace throughout the race. This was despite the fact that nobody had any proper running on the supersoft with full tanks, due to the mixed weather conditions during free practice on Thursday. “As a result, calculating the strategy was extremely complicated. But with the nature of the circuit, plus a tyre choice that was certainly more conservative and hardly any tyre degradation, it was clear that a one-stop strategy was the way forward as soon as the teams learned more about the performance of the supersoft after the race got underway. Obviously that led to longer stints and limited opportunities for overtaking. Although there was some rain at the end, our slick tyres still offered enough grip to carry the leaders through to a very close finish with the top six finishing within six seconds of each other.” With the possibility of rain predicted halfway through the race, the drivers

concentrated on making their first set of tyres last for as long as possible, in order to minimise the potential number of pit stops. The timing of the pit stops is always crucial in Monaco, in order to ensure that cars do not feed out into traffic that is difficult to overtake. A flawless one-stop strategy from Red Bull ensured that Webber was able to convert his pole position into a second win at Monaco. Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg was the first of the leaders to change from supersoft to P Zero Yellow soft on lap 27, banking on no rain coming. Two laps later, Webber also pitted but crucially he was able to emerge ahead of Rosberg. The longest stint on the supersoft was carried out by Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo, who made his original set of P Zero Reds last for 40 laps. Vettel’s strategy, starting on the harder P Zero Yellow tyre, allowed him to take the lead by the halfway point of the race, building up a significant advantage by the time he finally pitted for supersoft tyres on lap 46. However, the lap times he was able to achieve on the soft tyre was not quite continued page 32


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SPORTS enough for him to keep the lead after his stop, re-joining in fourth position behind Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso, who moved in to the lead in the championship standings after the race. Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne also used strategy, with an early pit stop on lap 17, to move from 17th on the grid to a points-scoring seventh. He then gambled on switching to intermediates with six laps to go, after running on the soft tyre for 53 laps. Sauber driver Sergio Perez set the fastest lap of the race on the soft tyre, having started at the back end of the grid after going off in qualifying. The anticipated rain finally fell lightly with just over 10 laps to go, creating a grandstand finish in Monaco for the second year in succession. The top six ran nose to tail to the flag, covered by just six seconds at the finish.

Silver Stripes at WSBK event A unique tyre was created for the 25th anniversary of the World Superbike Championship.

T

his year the World Superbike Championship celebrates its 25th anniversary, and Pirelli – which has been involved in the series from its inception and as sole supplier since 2004 – decided to mark the occasion by creating an exclusive version of the Superpole tyre the riders used at Monza in early May.

This exclusive “Silver Stripes” version of the ‘supersoft’ compound Superpole Diablo Superbike 32 32

The long partnership with World Superbike has allowed Pirelli to develop a series of products for road and track, most notably the Diablo range. tyre has six silver (the colour traditionally associated with 25 year anniversaries) stripes on the tread, and a label on the side depicting the Italian flag and commemorative logo designed by Infront to celebrate the World Superbike Championship’s quarter century milestone. “All of our knowledge begins with experience, just as knowing means remembering, and so we remember when we at Pirelli got back into world motorcycle competitions: this was after years of minor activity, and the historical Grand Prix races with Gilera, Guzzi, etc. had been forgotten,” said Giorgio Barbier, Pirelli Moto Racing director and part of the Superbike project from its start in the late 1980’s. “After the first slicks evolved in the early eighties on a national and European level, diving into the new World Superbike adventure in 1988 was a choice of passion and courage. “We chose team Rumi, outgoing World champion and its rising star, American rider Fred Merkel. A hard year, full of excitement, disappointments and successes: a championship which was won in the last round in New Zealand against Mertens, who would later go on to become a Pirelli rider. Since then, the Pirelli sports identity in the motorcycle world has once again been a culture of constant undertaking and commitment,” he added.

The long partnership with World Superbike has allowed Pirelli to develop a series of products for road and track, most notably the Diablo range. Pirelli also says the experience it has gained through this championship helped guide it towards many of its current motorsport commitments, such as Motocross, Enduro, as well as Rally and finally a return to F1. “This is certainly a very important milestone, not only for Infront Motor Sports and the World Superbike Championship, but for the entire two wheeled sport competition world,” Barbier said. “In spite of the economic crisis during the 1990s and in recent years, the World Championship continued to grow consistently both in terms of visibility and prestige, carving out a major role for itself in international motorcycling. “The Flammini brothers’ project showed itself from the very beginning to be a winner, attracting important riders that would go on to become legends. “Pirelli believed in this project from the beginning, and from 2004 they were chosen as sole official supplier for all four classes of World Superbike, adding their contribution to the excitement that these races provide fans every weekend. “We were therefore pleased to be able to celebrate this event together with Infront and all the others involved and we are confident that the World Superbike Championship will continue to grow in the years to come,” Barbier concluded. About 30 Pirelli patents stem from its WSBK experience, patents related to various aspects of tyre technology, including the contact area (EPT), tread design, compounds and processes. Many of Pirelli’s latest products, such as the Diablo Supercorsa SP, Diablo Rosso Corsa and the Diablo Rosso II, contain elements drawn from these technologies.


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Australian Tyre Dealer - June July - Online Edition