The drivers fighting for victory on Rally Argentina will have to switch to unsuitable hard-compound tires for Saturday afternoon after exhausting the limited supply of soft Michelins in the morning.
Following shocking scenes on this event last season, when tires were shredded by asphalt sections of the stages, the FIA permitted the use of 10 emergency tires which would be used in more extreme weather conditions. The wet weather in Argentina pressed those covers into action, but the crews have now run out.
Drivers left Villa Carlo Paz this morning with a mix of hard and soft tires, with rally leader Sebastien Loeb running one compound on one side of his Citroen and one compound on the other. So bad was the issue that some of the leaders were taking two spare hard tires to use on the road section and then changing them to the softs before the morning's first stage.
Ford tire engineer George Black said: "It's been a case of mixing the best of the soft tires we've had for Dani [Sordo] and Mads [Ostberg] this morning, but all the softs are just about scrap now. We're on hards for this afternoon."
While showers are still possible this afternoon, Sunday's stages – including the morning's 41-mile opener – will all be run on hard tires.
DMACK, Michelin's only competitor in the World Rally Championship, nominated its soft tire for this event and, therefore has a big stock left for its top-class representative Martin Prokop. The Czech Ford driver is running sixth, but will move into fifth following the demise of Nasser Al-Attiyah, who hit a rock and damaged his Citroen's suspension on SS9.