There, they say, “If you don’t like this weather, look behind you.”
That was Day Three at Targa Newfoundland.
We started in sunshine, went through clouds and pretty heavy rain, and ended up in sunshine again.
At the start of each stage, course officials run the route and decide how good/bad the weather might make the traction.
They then assign one of three ‘conditions’ to the stage:
Condition 1 is ‘dry’.
Condition 2 is ‘wet’.
Condition 3 means there may be cod in the road.
The higher the number, the more time we get to complete the distance.
I think we had all three conditions on various stages on Day Three before lunch.
And Day Four was much the same.
This is why tire selection is so critical. We are only allowed six tires in all, and because no-one in their right mind would mix types of tires, especially on a performance car, that means you have to have six of the same kind.
Because we're almost guaranteed to see rain at some point, most competitors choose something in the 'intermediate' to 'wet' range. Because what you gain in the dry with a 'dry' tire, you more than lose when it rains.
And in a Targa rally, if you are trying to eke out every tenth of a second you can, chances are very slim you're going to last until Friday afternoon.
You're more likely to become a part of the scenery.
So while the philosophy is pretty much the same for most, the execution thereof varies widely. We've chosen Yokohama ADVAN Neova AD08s this year, and have been very happy. Sure, we get wheelspin at will at launch, but this is a pretty quick car, and controlling that is what my right foot is for.
The grip is very predictable in the wet, and still very good in the dry.
Toyo, Goodyear, Michelin, just about every major tire maker is here.
Who has made the right choice?
We'll see Friday night.