Wet Handling and Cornering

Safety and control are paramount on wet roads - so which rubber was the most reassuring to drive on?

The only time most of us get close to the limit of ourtyres’ ability is on wet roads. Grip is drastically reduced and there can behuge performance gaps between the best and worst rubber – often the difference betweenhaving a crash or not.

Vredestein and Goodyear design tyres to perform well in thewet, and the Sportrac 3 and OptiGrip uphold this. The Russian-owned Dutch firmjust took the win from its US rival, with Continental close behind.

All three inspired confidence, allowing the driver to get onthe throttle early and equiring the minimum of steering lock. The order wasshuffled a little on the cornering circle, with

Continental just in front and Bridgestone pipping Goodyear forthird. Reigning champ Pirelli felt particularly sharp, and was fifth on thehandling circuit but faded to eighth on the circle. In contrast, Kumho showed promisein the cornering test, but didn’t deliver as the speeds increased on thecircuit, where the nose slid wide too easily.

Michelin suffered the same fate on the faster discipline,coming fifth on the circle but dropping to eighth on the handling track in atightly packed group. The bottom of the top 10 was the best the Dunlop couldmanage in both tests – even though it felt safe, it was short on grip.

A long way back was the Wanli. This was not a pleasant drive,with the sheer dearth of grip triggering the anti-lock braking very early andpushing the car wide as soon as the throttle was touched. Wanli was fourseconds slower than the next best make, and a worrying seven seconds behind thetop tyre on the handling circuit.

Dry track star Maxxis didn’t really take to the wet surface,managing no better than two

11th places. But at least it was in touch with the rest ofits rivals.

Wet cornering results
Continental 100.0
Vredestein 99.9
Bridgestone 98.2
Goodyear 97.8
Michelin 97.8
Kumho 96.9
Fulda 96.9
Pirelli 96.8
Dunlop 96.6
Wet handling results
Vredestein 100.0
Goodyear 99.5
Continental 99.1
Bridgestone 98.5
Pirelli 98.3
Fulda 98.2
Hankook 97.7
Michelin 97.5
Dunlop 97.5
Kumho 96.6
Wanli 91.4

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