Former grand prix winner Robert Kubica has won the Monza Rally using Pirelli tyres on a Ford Fiesta RS WRC, in complicated mixed conditions where tyre choice was fundamental to victory. Pirelli also won all the classes, including historic, production and Super 2000, following a spectacular event that was watched on Sunday by newly-crowned Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton: another winner on Pirelli tyres.
|Kubica triumphed with Pirelli
Kubica took the lead from multiple motorbike champion Valentino Rossi on the final stage, the 32-kilometre Grand Prix stage, having started it 5.1 seconds behind Rossi. His eventual winning margin was 12.5 seconds, after a dominant final stage.
“We took the same tyres but I knew already after the first loop that I was quicker than him, for some reason he did not have the same pace as before,” said Kubica. “I’m very pleased to win, especially for all the guys at the A Style team. Yesterday we took the wrong tyre choice, which was too hard, but today it was just right. Throughout this rally the tyre choice was very complicated because of the mixed conditions but we managed to get it right most of the time and enjoy a really good fight against a fantastic driver like Valentino, so I am very happy.”
The tyre regulations at Monza are much more open than those used on the World Rally Championship, with tyre warmers and cutting of the tread pattern also allowed. This opened up the possibilities considerably, making the Monza Rally as much about tactics as out-and-out speed.
Another highlight of the entry list was extreme sportsman Ken Block, returning to the Pirelli-equipped World Rally Car that he last drove on the Rally of Spain in October. The American is a Pirelli brand ambassador, but this was the first time that he had ever visited Milan: the home of Pirelli. Before the event, Block gave rides to Pirelli’s guests at Monza, eventually finishing 29th on the highly specialised rally.
“I’ve had a blast!”
|Ken Block was a favourite with the fans
. “To be honest, these stages are a little tight and tricky and we had a couple of problems, including a spin and a navigational mistake as well, which meant that we did an extra loop. But these things happen. The most important thing is that we put on a really good show for the fantastic crowd here, which I think they appreciated.”
Making his rally debut with Pirelli was NASCAR star Kurt Busch, who improved steadily in challenging conditions that were completely alien to his usual racing environment, finishing 32nd.
Pirelli’s entire rally range was represented at the Rally di Monza, including the RK tyre as used on the World Rally Championship (along with its RKW rain variant) and the RX asphalt tyre, in hard compound (RX5D) medium compound (RX7B) and soft compound (RX9). For rain, the RE7A intermediate tyre was also available, used throughout all three days of the rally
The R5 category was won by eight-time Italian Rally Champion Paolo Andreucci, who also finished 12th overall in his Pirelli-equipped Peugeot 208 R5, co-driven by Anna Andreussi. Former Italian Rally Champion Luca Rossetti made it a Pirelli one-two in Monza in the R5 category.
|Paolo Andreucci won the R5 class
There were Pirelli wins in the supporting categories as well: Giuseppe Freguglia won Super 2000 in a Skoda Fabia, while Luca Tosini won the two-wheel drive class in a Renault Clio. On the decisive final day, they all used the RE rain tyre with a specially designed cut in order to further expel standing water. Of the 94 starters in the modern section of the rally, 83 chose to run on Pirelli tyres.
The historic section of the rally was won by Massimo Pedretti in a Lancia 037, who dominated the event from start to finish. The Masters Show – a stand-alone event run over a single stage at the very end of the rally – was won by Kubica as well, in heavy rain, to complete a perfect weekend for the Pole.
Pirelli’s product manager Terenzio Testoni
commented: “This year’s Monza Rally was held in some of the most challenging conditions we have ever seen on the event, with intermittent rain and inconsistent grip making tyre choice a real question mark, particularly with the gaps between competitors being so close. Robert Kubica and Valentino Rossi in particular both did a fantastic job to get the very most out of their tyres and keep the result in doubt right up to the final stage. They both used exactly the same RE7A cut tyre on the final stage, and the result hinged on extracting the maximum possible performance from them. We were also honoured to welcome visitors such as Ken Block and Kurt Busch, who added to a spectacular show over three days at the home of the Italian Grand Prix, just half an hour away from Pirelli’s headquarters. ”
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