JAPAN RALLY, FOCUS ON WEATHER CONDITIONS
Rain, currently expected on Friday, and more humid conditions than forecast could weigh on the entire race and the teams' tyre strategy
The P Zero Hard is the prime. Also available are the P Zero Soft and the Cinturato for wet weather, indicated in case of rain
Testoni: “It closes a season marked by often spectacular races, during which we always learned something new and useful for the future development of our products”
The eighth edition of the Rally Japan, which features some changes in format compared to last year, closes a world championship that had already given its verdicts in the previous two races with the crowning of Kalle Rovanpera and Toyota as 2023 champions of drivers and manufacturers. But the Japanese team's home rally will surely have stories to tell, if only because of the unknowns reserved by a track that is by its nature challenging and relatively familiar to crews who will have to engage, before the race, in more thorough reconnaissance than usual on the 304.66 competitive kilometers scheduled on the roads around Nagoya.
The asphalts on the 22 special stages, including three in the Toyota Stadium, which run in the Ena, Gifu and Chūbu regions are generally challenging and can be slippery, especially in the early morning hours, particularly on the mountain sections. The hazards posed by cuts that bring soil, stones and foliage onto the road should not be underestimated. However, the real attention must be paid particularly to the weather, according to which at the moment the race is presented with a rainy Friday and the rest of the weekend without precipitation, but with cold temperatures, especially in the morning, and predictably quite wet surfaces, opening the way for a plurality of possible choices. Thus, while on Friday an almost exclusive use of the Cinturato wet-weather tyres is to be expected, on the other two race days the options will focus on the other two tyres available, also in combination with each other: the P Zero Hard (prime), which over the course of the season have shown great versatility, offering reliability even on not entirely dry asphalts, and the P Zero Soft (option), more suitable in case wet conditions and lack of grip turn out to be greater than expected.
Terenzio Testoni, rally activity manager: "Although the championship is closed, I expect a heartfelt and hard-fought race from everyone, as well as a very interesting one from a technical point of view. Japan's roads and weather conditions pose challenges that should not be underestimated and present risks that must be well analyzed especially in the reconnaissance phase, where any slightest error in judgment could cost a high price. For us, it will be an opportunity to accumulate more data for future developments of our products. After all, we have experienced an intense season in which we have always had the opportunity to learn something, with races that are always challenging and, often, notably spectacular."
TIRES FOR JAPAN RALLY
In Japan, for Rally1 cars allocations are:
- 28 tires for the P Zero RA WRC HA (hard), suitable for dry, more abrasive surfaces and longer stages
- 18 for the P Zero RA WRC SA (soft), ideal for the slipperier dry asphalts
- 12 for the Cinturato RWB wet-weather tyres.
Each Rally1 car can fit a total of 28 tires during the race, including 4 for the shakedown.
For WRC2, which can use up to a maximum of 26 tires per car, including shakedown, the allocations for each crew are:
- 26 P Zero RA5A
- 18 P Zero RA7+B
- 12 Cinturato RWB