Martin Prokop seals his best-ever result on the fastest-ever World Rally Championship event with Pirelli
Pirelli tyres have helped privateer Martin Prokop to claim his best-ever result on Rally Finland, which was the fastest-ever event in World Rally Championship history this year, with the winner completing the 20 gravel stages at an average speed of 125.44kph.
|Martin Prokop on Rally Finland|
Prokop, from the Czech Republic, finished seventh: one of two privateer Pirelli-equipped cars in the points, capable of scoring against the factory teams. Italy’s Lorenzo Bertelli finished 10th: claiming his best result of the season, and his first World Championship points on the most specialised event of the year. Both Pirelli privateers were each driving a Ford Fiesta RS WRC. The similar Pirelli-equipped car of former F1 star Robert Kubica was unable to finish the rally, despite a strong performance that took him to the top six on the opening morning. He retired with a broken alternator from day one, before going out definitively on Saturday as the result of a roll when he was running first on the road. There was success for Pirelli in the Production section of the WRC2 championship, with reigning champion Max Rendina, driving a Mitsubishi, leading home Gianluca Linari in a Subaru – who consolidates his championship lead. This series is for cars based closely on their showroom equivalents and Pirelli is currently one-two in the standings, underlining the link between competition and performance on the road. In line with Pirelli’s philosophy of supporting young drivers, the Italian firm also supplied the two Peugeot 208 R2s driven by Damiano De Tommaso and Fabio Andolfi, backed by the Italian motorsport federation. De Tommaso, aged 19, finished sixth in the WRC3 class while Andolfi was forced to retire. All the drivers used Pirelli’s Scorpion K Reinforced tyres on Rally Finland, which was characterised by changeable weather than ranged from sunshine to torrential rain, as a result of the worst Finnish summer in recent memory. The roads were consequently extremely soft and rutted, exposing a number of sharp rocks that posed a harsh challenge for the tyres. Despite these inhospitable conditions on the fastest rally in history, the Pirelli tyres proved to be both fast and durable, absorbing the high-energy loads generated by massive top speeds and big jumps over the fast gravel tests. The drivers used the soft compound KS tyre, together with the hard KH compound as an option for longer stages, warmer conditions, and more aggressive surfaces. Pirelli product manager Terenzio Testoni commented: “This was one of the toughest years of Rally Finland that we have ever seen, due to speeds that were quicker than they have ever been and weather conditions that were impossible to predict. Despite these two big challenges, our privateer drivers showed once more that they can get in amongst the factory teams and score points. Both Martin and Lorenzo claimed their best results in Finland, with the feeling of control that the Scorpion tyres gave them at high speeds allowing them to push at full confidence. The KS tyre in particular showed its adaptability to a very wide range of conditions. Max Rendina also had another successful event, moving up into second in the Production standings while Gianluca Linari reinforces his lead.” The World Rally Championship now moves onto asphalt for Rallye Deutschland in Germany, which contains a variety of sealed surfaces and weather conditions. The famed Pirelli P Zero tyres will be back in action for this event, which takes place from August 20-23.
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