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Michelin celebrate in Clermont-Ferrand 13 Dec 2006

Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Renault talks with a representative of Bell helmets. Formula One Testing, Day Two, Barcelona, Spain, 29 November 2006. World © Hartley/Sutton

Michelin commemorated their 2006 title success on Tuesday at Clermont-Ferrand, the French city that houses the tyre company’s headquarters. The star attraction, a demonstration run by Renault’s Heikki Kovalainen, was the last scheduled appearance of a Formula One car on Michelin tyres.

Kovalainen completed five return runs along the city’s main thoroughfare, Avenue Julien, which had been specially closed for the street demonstration. A crowd of over 15,000 spectators gathered in the French city to watch the R25 in action.

"It was really good fun to drive on the streets of Clermont-Ferrand,” enthused Kovalainen. “My first job was to note where all the bumps on the 'track' were. Then, on my final run, I shifted up into fourth gear and reached about 230 km/h (140mph). Fortunately, my tyres had enough grip!"

The Finn’s demonstration was the culmination of two days of celebrations, which included a variety of displays organised by Michelin and the Clermont-Ferrand authorities. Michelin employees attended an evening reception on Monday and were surprised by a performance by Renault technicians, who tweaked the R25’s engine to play the French national anthem.