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WRC teams expect more punctures

Sebastien Loeb changes a wheel in SwedenFord and Citroen have admitted they expect punctures to become more of a regular feature of the World Rally Championship - following a spate of tyre failures from Michelin on last week's Rally Sweden.

Citroen was quick to point out that it only had one genuine puncture, the other problems came due to its decision to lower the tyre pressure to widen the contact patch and get more traction and speed from the DS3 WRC.

Ford maintained high pressures and only suffered one puncture, which tyre manager George Black said was inevitable given the impact the cover suffered.

"I think there will be an issue with punctures this year," said Black. "The sidewalls on the gravel tyre are not as strong as the Pirellis were last year and that's generally where you get punctures. We were also disappointed to get punctures coming through the tread of the tyre in testing."

Citroen's Olivier Quesnel added: "There are some punctures and we don't know what will happen in Mexico. I would not like WRC to become a lottery because of the tyres, but we don't know yet."

A Michelin spokesman said the firm had completed two seasons' worth of mileage without a significant number of failures.

"We are not worried," he said. "We know our tyres, we know what development has gone into them and we are sure of their performance.

"On the other hand, this is our return to rally after five years, so we have to learn and we are very humble as we look to improve. Yes, we are good at producing tyres, but we are not God."

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