Kajetanowicz and Pirelli in the Canary Islands to begin defence of European Rally crown
Kajetan Kajetanowicz will count on Pirelli tyres again in 2016 as he bids to retain his FIA European Rally Championship title, starting this weekend on Rally Islas Canarias. Polish driver Kajetanowicz defeated the odds last year to claim the crown as a privateer, using Pirelli tyres to great success on asphalt, gravel and snow. This season he returns to the ERC, once again driving a Ford Fiesta R5. Among his rivals will be the Russian driver Alexey Lukyanuk, who finished third in the standings in 2015 and won two rallies in two different cars, but always with the support of Pirelli. This year’s ERC begins with Rally Islas Canarias, which celebrates its 40th edition with a comeback to the series schedule. The asphalt stages of Gran Canaria rise and fall continuously, making cornering speed and precision vital. Tyres have to withstand a very abrasive surface and be able to perform in the wet weather that can often arrive on the island. The rally will consist of 13 stages from 10-12 March.
Leading Pirelli drivers on Rally Islas Canarias In addition to Ford Fiesta drivers Kajetan Kajetanowicz and Alexey Lukyanuk, Pirelli will also be represented by Frenchman Robert Consani (Peugeot 208 T16), another regular frontrunner in the ERC. Giacomo Scattolon, a previous Italian junior champion, makes his debut in the ERC2 class driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X. In ERC3, the Polish Opel Adam R2 duo of Lukasz Pieniazek and Aleks Zawada and Turkey’s Murat Bostanci (Ford Fiesta R2) will do battle ahead of the start of the ERC Junior Championship – where all the young drivers will compete on Pirelli tyres – on the next round in Northern Ireland. Tyre and rules The regulations allow for 18 to be made available to each crew. Pirelli will provide the full range of PZero RK asphalt tyres, able to cover all the possible weather conditions and temperatures, which can vary considerably on the Spanish islands located in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of north-western Africa. Considering the forecast, it is likely that the RK5A (hard compound) and RK7A (medium compound) for dry and damp conditions will be the most likely options, rather than the RK9A (soft compound) and RKW7 wet tyres. Quotes Terenzio Testoni, Pirelli rally activity manager: “Contrary to last year, our drivers start as reigning champions and therefore among the favourites. However, in the European Championship the contenders for victory on individual rallies are not just those that are title protagonists but also the excellent guests and local drivers, who can count on greater knowledge of the stages. This particularly applies to the Canary Islands and a rally that is part of the ERC again after two years of absence, run on roads which are very abrasive and very arduous. Our tyres are tailored to these demands but it will be crucial to make choices step-by-step given the isolated rainfall that’s typical of the islands.”