Ford Fiesta RS WRC ace Robert Kubica is ready for the quickest and most famous rally of the entire world championship, as he and the other Pirelli runners head to the flat-out rollercoaster crests of Finland this weekend.
Joining Kubica are a number of other privateer drivers, who have shown the strength and speed of Pirelli products on many previous occasions this year. The recent dominant winner of Rally Estonia, Alexey Lukyanuk, steps up to a Ford Fiesta World Rally Car for Finland, having defeated all his opposition in Estonia using just a Group N Mitsubishi equipped with Pirelli tyres.
Other Pirelli runners in Finland include reigning Group N Production champion Max Rendina, as well as Lorenzo Bertelli: competing in his first full season with a World Rally Car this year.
Finland is renowned as being the spiritual home of rallying, characterised by fast gravel stages that require perfect high-speed precision from both driver and co-driver. Also known as the ‘Finnish Grand Prix’, the gravel roads are quite compact, with very little in the way of surface stones or dust. Local specialists have dominated the event in the past, but recently the top European stars have taken the fight to the Scandinavians.
The Pirelli Scorpion KS Reinforced soft compound has been chosen as the main tyre for Finland, with the Pirelli Scorpion KH Reinforced hard as the option (for warmer stages or those with a harder base). These tyres are both based on last year’s K product to make them even more stable and durable for Finland’s 20 stages, making up 320 competitive kilometres in total. Under the latest WRC regulations, opportunities for tyre changes are limited, meaning that the compounds have to be durable as well as quick and puncture-resistant.
Rally Finland gets underway with a ceremonial start in Jyvaskyla and the nearby Harju superspecial in the evening of Thursday 30 July, before concluding on Sunday lunchtime back in Jyvaskyla.
Leading Pirelli drivers in Finland:
Robert Kubica, Martin Prokop and Lorenzo Bertelli will represent Pirelli in the leading WRC1 class, with Alexey Lukyanuk also joining the top category in Finland. In the WRC2 series, Karl Kruuda leads the Pirelli contingent, along with Yuri Protasov: the category winner on the recent Rally d’Italia-Sardinia. ACI Team Italia, made up of promising young guns selected by the Italian motorsport federation, also uses Pirelli tyres for its two Peugeot 208 R2s.
14 Robert Kubica/Maciej Szczepaniak (Ford Fiesta RS WRC)
17 Alexey Lukyanuk/Alexey Arnautov (Ford Fiesta RS WRC)
21 Martin Prokop/Jan Tomanek (Ford Fiesta RS WRC)
33 Max Rendina/Emanuele Inglesi (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10)
34 Quentin Giordano/Valentin Sarreaud (Citroen DS3 RRC)
36 Karl Kruuda/Martin Jarveoja (Citroen DS3 R5)
37 Lorenzo Bertelli/Giovanni Bernacchini (Ford Fiesta RS WRC)
39 Yuriy Protasov/Pavlo Cherepin (Ford Fiesta RRC)
43 Valeriy Gorban/Volodymyr Korsia (MINI JCW RRC)
70 Anders Grondal/Roger Eilertsen (Citroen DS3 R5)
75 Gianluca Linari/Nicola Arena (Subaru Impreza WRX STi)
78 Damiano De Tommaso/Massimiliano Bosi (Peugeot 208 R2)
79 Fabio Andolfi/Simone Scattolin (Peugeot 208 R2)
81 Kristian Kiviniemi/Matti Kangas (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9)
87 Ville-Markus Marttinen/Timo Hantunen (Ford Fiesta R2)
88 Taisko Lario/Sami Ryynanen (Peugeot 208 R2)
93 Fabio Frisiero/Giovanni Agnese (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9)
The tyres available and the rules:
The WRC1 drivers are allowed 24 tyres for the whole rally under the latest regulations (four tyres per tyre change opportunity, plus four spares). They can choose from 24 of the first choice 205/65-15 KS Reinforced and 16 of the option 205/65-15 KH Reinforced. The K pattern is well known for its versatility, being suited to loose gravel as well as dry surfaces. The internal part of the asymmetric tread pattern helps acceleration and braking, while the external part puts the emphasis on lateral grip. This all adds up to a fast and very stable product: essential in Finland.
Terenzio Testoni, Pirelli product manager: “Finland is one of the most exacting challenges all year for our tyres, which have to cope with sustained high speeds and also significant impacts, as the cars land heavily after taking off dramatically from all the spectacular crests that characterise the route. Precision is vital, so we need a strong turn-in and directionality from our tyres, in order to give the drivers confidence to push to the maximum: the only way a top result can be obtained on Rally Finland. As always, Robert Kubica is set to be one of the stars of the event, with his inherent speed being naturally suited to these rapid stages. We’re also delighted to see Alexey Lukyanuk back on our tyres in a World Rally Car, after he dominated proceedings in Estonia with a Group N car. On that occasion Pirelli-equipped cars monopolised the podium, and with the Estonian roads being quite similar to the Finnish stages, we’re confident of another strong performance this weekend.”
For further information please contact:
Anthony Peacock • +44 7765 896 930 • firstname.lastname@example.org