Pirelli’s Scorpion tyre will be used to equip a host of privateer drivers when the World Rally Championship heads to Sardinia next week for Rally Italia Sardegna (June 5-8) and the Italian tyre company’s home round of the WRC.
Pirelli used the island and its demanding gravel roads for much of its WRC tyre development activities, which underlines just how challenging the stages and temperatures can be.
To mark 10 years since Sardinia first hosted Italy’s round of the WRC, organisers have included a stage in the capital Cagliari for the first time with the 1.30-kilometre Tarmac test opening the competitive action on the evening of Thursday June 5. That will be followed by a further 16 all-gravel stages from Friday until Sunday. In total there will be 364.92 timed kilometres with the event getting a new base in Alghero in the northwest of the island.
Pirelli drivers in Sardinia
Pirelli’s driver line-up for Rally Italia Sardegna features an array of star performers including WRC podium finisher and stage winner Henning Solberg, WRC 2 title pacesetter and new Pirelli customer Yuriy Protasov, championship chaser and top Italian Lorenzo Bertelli, runaway WRC 2 Production leader Max Rendina, Bernardo Sousa, the winner of the recent European championship-counting Rallye Acores, plus one of the rising stars of the ERC, the 20-year-old Russian Vasily Gryazin.
The Pirelli crews contesting Rally Italia Sardegna are:
16 Henning Solberg/Ilka Minor (Ford Fiesta RS WRC)
32 Yuriy Protasov/Pavlo Cherepin (Ford Fiesta RRC)
33 Max Rendina/Mario Pizzuti (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10)
37 Lorenzo Bertelli/Mitia Dotta (Ford Fiesta RRC)
43 Bernardo Sousa/Hugo Magalhaes (Ford Fiesta RRC)
44 Julien Maurin/Nicolas Klinger (Ford Fiesta R5)
83 Vasily Gryazin/Dmitry Eremeev (Mini John Cooper Works S2000)
88 Fabio Frisiero/Simone Scattolin (Subaru Impreza R4 STI)
The tyres available
Pirelli will supply its hard compound Scorpion XR5 tyres for the warm and dry conditions, plus the option Scorpion XR7 in the event of cool temperatures and damp stage surfaces. The XR pattern’s internal structure means that the tyre is resistant to rocks and other impacts, while the sidewall is also reinforced to protect against punctures, a frequent hazard when the narrow gravel surface becomes rutted for the second usage and rocks are exposed. The new XR is a symmetrical (non-directional) tyre, which makes each tyre interchangeable on either side of the car: a key advantage when it comes to strategy.
One prime compound is nominated per gravel event (the hard compound in Sardinia) with limited quantities of a softer option compound also available in case of unexpected cool and damp weather conditions. Henning Solberg, Pirelli’s World Rally Car representative in Sardinia will have an allocation of 25 tyres for the event (plus four for shakedown) making a total of 29 tyres, while the WRC 2 drivers have an allocation of 20 tyres for the event (plus four for the shakedown) making 24 tyres in total.
The hard compound XR5 is the prime nomination, with the softer XR7 available as the option.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director:
“Sardinia is one of the most important rallies on our calendar, and we’re particularly pleased to be back in the World Rally Championship this year on our home territory in Italy. As well as that, it’s also a round of the Italian Rally Championship, so there will be plenty of our products out on the challenging stages. Sardinia is one of the most demanding events of the entire year due to the nature of the surface, which becomes rutted with sharp rocks exposed. Frequently we also experience very warm ambient temperatures in Sardinia as well. This makes Sardinia a true test for the tyres, requiring durability as well as performance. Our focus this year is firmly on privateer drivers, so we wish them the best of luck, as we aim to give them all the best possible opportunities for tyres to make a difference.”
For more information about Pirelli, please contact Anthony Peacock on +44 7765 896 930 or firstname.lastname@example.org