Wet handling

Finding a tyre you’re happy with in the damp, rain-lashed UK is vital.

Directional arrowhead tread patterns may be going out of fashion among tyre makers, but they remain a favourite when the heavens open, taking the top five places in this test.

Top of the tree was wet-weather specialist Vredestein, with its Sportrac3 design finishing 1.5 seconds ahead of nearest rival Goodyear on a 60-second lap. Behind the wheel it was equally impressive with the front of our car following the line, despite applying the power way earlier than with its rivals. When it comes to producing consistently good wet tyres, few match the Dutch maker.

The Goodyear felt similarly secure with great front-wheel grip andbalance. But the HydraGrip couldn’t get close to the Sportrac3’s times.

BFGoodrich put its more illustrious stablemate, Michelin, to shame here, taking third. While the g-Force Profiler came close to matching the Goodyear, steering felt vague by comparison.

Taking fourth and fifth respectively were Toyo and Kumho. With the rear prone to sliding, the Proxes moved around a little more than some rivals. The Kumho, on the other hand, felt a lot sharper, with accurate steering.

Pirelli took the best-of-the-rest award with its asymmetric P7. It turned in well, but struggled to cope with powering through the tighter corners. And while it may be down in seventh spot, Uniroyal’s wet-weather tyre was close to all but the flying Dutchman. It coped well under power, with great balance, although turn-in could have been sharper.

Second asymmetric pattern home was Bridgestone. While progressive, it failed to match the grip achieved by the front-runners. Not far behind was Michelin, which was predictable and safe, but required a fair amount of lock to get round the faster turns.

On the wet track, stablemates Fulda and Dunlop struggled on the dips and climbs. Both failed to cope under acceleration, with the front running wide all too easily. Alongside Hankook, they were a long way behind the top finishers.

Our wet-circle circuit identified just how much grip each tread and compound has, as speeds are too low for aquaplaning. Engineers at Michelin have come up with the correct formula as the Primacy topped the times a fair way ahead of the rest of the top five – Matador, Toyo, Maxxis and Bridgestone. Four-wheel-drive specialist BFGoodrich had real trouble here, and brought up the rear with Pirelli and Fulda.

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