European Rally Championship: Pirelli drivers ready to fight at the front
|Kajetan Kajetanowicz leads the ERC standings with Pirelli|
The European Rally Championship continues this weekend in Estonia with one of the fastest gravel rallies in the world. Going head to head will be the two Pirelli-equipped drivers who have been fighting with each other for the championship this year: Poland’s Kajetan Kajetanowicz – reigning champion and series leader – versus Russia’s Alexey Lukyanuk, who is just 15 points behind and won the Estonia Rally last year from Kajetanowicz by 12.7 seconds. The fight for the title on round six of the series (out of 10) is reflected in the battle for the ERC Junior Championship title as well, which is exclusively supplied by Pirelli. This series is at its halfway point, with three different winners from as many events so far (Lukasz Pieniazek from Poland, Diogo Gago from Portugal and Marijan Griebel from Germany respectively) but with Englishman Chris Ingram in the championship lead. The rally: The event was chosen as the best one of the European championship last year and the roads of the Baltic region tend to be flat with very few obstacles. The route is largely unchanged compared to 2015, with 16 special stages. The very first stage is the superspecial that runs within the city of Tartu on Friday night, and there is another superspecial in Elva. These two stages are the only ones that are short with a low average speed (just over 70kph for the Tartu stage in 2015) The route: Above all, the stages are very fast: the winner’s average speed last year was 123.6 kph – on quite sandy gravel with some bumps and crests. The frequent jumps are certainly spectacular but they challenge the crews as well as the tyres. The weather: Generally quite good weather is expected at this time of year in the area, with reasonably warm temperatures from 20 to 25°C. However, the forecast includes the possibility of showers, which would make the surfaces particularly muddy and slippery. The tyres and the rules According to FIA regulations, each team can use 18 tyres in 18-inch size, whereas the Junior runners will have 12 of the 16-inch tyres available. In both cases, Pirelli’s Scorpion K gravel tyres will be used. The top class cars will use the K6 soft compound with a medium Scorpion K also available in case temperatures exceed 20°C. The K8 soft compound will be used for cool temperatures or rain.
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