The European Rally Championship and Italian Rally Championship seasons began on the gravel roads of the Azores Rally and the asphalt of Rally Il Ciocco respectively, with the same result: a clear victory for Pirelli drivers.

In the Portuguese islands, Russia’s Alexey Lukyanuk dominated with his Ford Fiesta R5 fitted with Pirelli Scorpion gravel tyres, while in Italy the 10-time national champion Paolo Andreucci ruled again with Pirelli P Zero tyres for asphalt.

Adding to the significant Pirelli results were wins in the junior categories: ERC Junior 4WD Under 28 (Chris Ingram, Skoda Fabia R5), ERC Junior 2WD Under 27 (Diogo Gago, Peugeot 208 R2B), CIR Junior Under 26 (Tommaso Ciuffi, Peugeot 208 R2B).

Rally Azores: quality and strength of Pirelli Scorpion K makes the difference

Alexey Lukyanuk and Alexey Arnautov and their Pirelli-equipped Ford Fiesta R5 led from stage two thanks to the efficiency of the Pirelli Scorpion K and KM tyres, which offered not only great performance but also superb resistance on the sandy but abrasive roads on the volcanic island of Sao Miguel. With a more careful approach than in the past, the Russian confirmed his status as favourite to succeed Kajetan Kajetanowicz (who won the last three editions of the ERC with Pirelli) as the European champion, and finished ahead of the Portuguese duo of Ricardo Moura and Bruno Magalhaes.

Fourth overall and the winner in the ERC Junior U28 class was Englishman Chris Ingram – already the winner of the ERC Junior U27 title with Pirelli in 2017 – after a duel with Martin Koci. The fight for victory among the two-wheel drive cars was also intense, with Martin Sesks (Opel Adam) leading for a long time but then delayed by gearbox problems. That promoted the Peugeot 208 R2s of Diogo Gago and Efren Llarena in front of the Latvian, who completed the podium.

Rally Il Ciocco: Andreucci and the Pirelli P Zero in front of everyone again

The Italian Rally Championship began with confirmation of last year’s form: victory for Paolo Andreucci/Anna Andreussi with their Peugeot 208 T16 equipped with Pirelli PZero RK7. Behind them was another Pirelli-equipped car: the Ford Fiesta R5 of Andrea Crugnola. Andreucci took the lead of the Tuscan event after the first full stage and led until the end while winning most of the stages.


Terenzio Testoni, Pirelli rally activity manager: “For Pirelli this was the best way to confirm the effectiveness and efficiency of our tyres, both the P Zero for asphalt and the Scorpion for gravel. Our drivers have imposed themselves in two of the most demanding championships for tyres – both in terms of the characteristics of the road surfaces as well as in terms of sheer numbers – and with both four-wheel drive and two-wheel drive vehicles.”


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