Another class win for Pirelli on home territory
|Young Italian Fabio Andolfi claimed the WRC3 win|
Pirelli celebrated the return of the World Rally Championship to its home territory by claiming a significant class win and hosting an important local initiative to bring rallying to the fans on Rally Italia Sardegna. Fabio Andolfi confirmed his status as one of the sport’s most promising stars by claiming the WRC3 category once again in his Peugeot 208 R2, which is backed by Pirelli and the Italian motorsport federation, ACI. This is part of an initiative sponsored by Pirelli to bring more young talent into the sport. Andolfi’s team mate Damiano De Tommaso also finished second in the category, with Pirelli dominating the two-wheel drive podium. Andolfi, co-driven by Manuel Fenoli, claimed the class lead at the beginning of the three-day gravel event and never lost it, despite some minor mechanical issues and punishing conditions that meant there were only 33 finishers. “It was a very good rally for us,” said Andolfi, who also managed to finish in the top 20 overall, driving one of the smallest cars on the rally. “We managed to fix the problems we had and thanks to Pirelli we had no problems at all with the tyres, even though it was an extremely demanding event with a lot of rocks.” In the past rallying has sometimes been difficult for fans to follow but Pirelli organised special facilities for spectators in the village of Tula, part of the all-new SS3 and SS7 on Friday, by offering free access, grandstands, and parking in the heart of the action. This proved to be an extremely popular initiative, giving the local community – including schoolchildren on a special trip – an exciting taste of the World Rally Championship, and attracting more spectators than any other stage. In the main WRC1 category Pirelli’s leading contenders suffered some bad luck, including an accident for Ford Fiesta WRC driver Lorenzo Bertelli and a five-minute penalty for Martin Prokop, which ruined his “favourite rally of the year.” Nonetheless, the Czech driver managed to bring his Ford Fiesta WRC home in 11th, one place ahead of former European champion Armin Kremer, who was Pirelli’s leading finisher in the hotly-contested WRC2 category, ending up fourth in class with his Skoda Fabia R5. Peruvian driver Nicolas Fuchs was challenging for the category lead, but was unfortunately forced into retirement after rolling on the final day. Giuseppe Dettori was the top Italian finisher on Pirelli tyres, in 16th with a Ford Fiesta R5. Drivers faced sandy stages, sharp rocks and ambient temperatures in excess of 26 degrees centigrade on the sixth round of the World Rally Championship, which marked the halfway point of the season. The Pirelli Scorpion K tyres that were nominated in both hard and soft compounds showed strength as well as speed, with tyre choice also proving to be a key strategic element in the rally. Pirelli’s rally activity manager Terenzio Testoni commented: “Fabio and Damiano both drove a fantastic rally, establishing their leadership of WRC3 from the very beginning and then finishing ahead of many more powerful cars. The difficulty of this event is clear from the long list of retirements, but our Scorpion K tyres were able to overcome all the hazards in order to give our privateer competitors the best possible chance of doing well, against strong factory-backed rivals.” The next round of the World Rally Championship is the all-gravel Rally Poland from June 30-July 3. One of Pirelli’s leading runners will be the current European Rally Champion Kajetan Kajetanowicz, in a Ford Fiesta R5.
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