World Rally Championship drivers have praised Michelin's new tougher tire, which makes its debut on the Jordan Rally today.
The French firm's return to the WRC has been blighted by punctures on the first three rounds, and following criticism from Citroen and Ford, Michelin launched its new cover on this week's Middle East round of the series.
Ford driver Jari-Matti Latvala has completed almost 350 miles of testing on the new tire and he was pleased with the results.
"Michelin has done good work," said the Finn. "The tire seems to be very, very strong. Also, the feeling is the same as with the previous tire. When the tire is warm, it gives the same good feeling as the tire before.
"Maybe it is a little bit difficult to brake and, of course, there is more weight [in the tire] so you feel it when you are trying to get the car moving – it is asking for more power.
"The tire is wearing a little bit more than the old one, but you would expect this because of the stiffer and stronger construction. The main thing is that the tire is very strong and the feeling is almost as good as with the old one."
Ford deliberately punctured the tires during its test in Spain in order to see how the Michelin would run deflated.
"You can drive a much longer time than the old Michelin. I can't say any figures how far we could drive," Latvala said, "but if you can keep the tire on the wheel, you would be able to drive for quite a long time without any air in it."