Former star driver Nikara back in the groove with Pirelli in Finland
Jarkko Nikara will rekindle his long-term relationship with Pirelli when he makes his return to the World Rally Championship on his home round in Finland next week (July 31-August 3).
Nikara, 28, was one of two winners of the inaugural Pirelli Star Driver Europe Shoot-Out in Austria back in 2008, which handed him a six-event programme of WRC action in 2009. Rally Finland will mark his first start at world level this season and his first appearance in a Ford Fiesta RS WRC. This year’s Rally Finland consists of 26 special stages over a competitive distance of 360.94 kilometres with jumps and crests commonplace. The stages run mainly on fast, forest roads lined by trees and lakes, with the exception of the Harju stage close to the centre of event base Jyvasklyla, which uses a combination of asphalted main roads and gravel woodland tracks.
Pirelli drivers in Finland: Pirelli’s driver line-up for Rally Finland features a trio of ace drivers: Lorenzo Bertelli, Jarkko Nikara and Max Rendina. Bertelli is the current WRC 2 leader although the Italian hasn’t nominated the event as one his scoring rounds. Rendina tops the WRC 2 Production section, while Nikara is tackling his home round of the WRC for an eighth time and is expected to fly in his M-Sport-prepared Fiesta.
The Pirelli crews contesting Rally Finland are: 22 Jarkko Nikara/Jarkko Kalliolepo (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) 37 Lorenzo Bertelli/Mitia Dotta (Ford Fiesta R5) 44 Max Rendina/Mario Pizzuti (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10)
The tyres: For Rally Finland, Pirelli will bring its new Scorpion K reinforced tyre, specifically developed to provide good performance on different surfaces, with strong endurance and reliability. The Scorpion K4 is the first choice, with the reinforced K8 available as the alternative choice in case of wet and cold conditions. And while punctures and tyre wear are less of an issue in Finland than on other WRC events, they remain a threat, which has prompted Pirelli to seek the approval of the FIA, the WRC’s rule-maker, to nominate a replacement tyre for Rally Finland and the season-closing Rally GB, which is permitted under the championship regulations.
The rules: Drivers can use a maximum of 24 tyres plus four for shakedown during the 26-stage event. A total of 28 K4 tyres are supplied to each crew with 16 of the K8 option also available.
Quotes: Matteo Braga, Pirelli senior tyre engineer: “Rally Finland is always one of the highlights of the season. As such a specialised event, we are delighted that one of the leading Finnish drivers, Jarkko Nikara, will be using our tyres on his home round of the world championship and we look forward to following his progress. We are introducing our ‘joker’ tyres for this event, the K4 and K8, that are designed to be more resistant to punctures due to the reinforced sidewalls and more harder wearing.” Jarkko Nikara, Pirelli driver: “I have been using Pirelli tyres in the Finnish championship this season and I’m currently leading so it proves their tyres are working well. I won’t get to try the Pirelli WRC tyres until I test my Fiesta for the first time on Sunday but all the people at Pirelli are always trying to help me. I’m really excited about doing my home round of the WRC in such a good car. Now I’m aiming for a top-five finish.”
For more information about Pirelli, please contact Anthony Peacock on +44 7765 896 930 or firstname.lastname@example.org