Without any real winter conditions, the tyre choice was down to just the asphalt P Zero

Neuville wins in WRC1 and Rossel in WRC2. A close contest meant the result went down to the wire on Sunday morning

Testoni: “The drivers did a good job in terms of choice and management of the tyres. The P Zero proved to be versatile and reliable in all conditions.”

The World Rally Championship got underway in Monte Carlo with a thrilling event that was undecided until the very end. It came down to a fight between Thierry Neuville (Hyundai), multiple world champion Sebastien Ogier and his Toyota team-mate Elfyn Evans, while the tyre to use was the P Zero. In the end, victory went to Neuville, while on the tyre front, the soft version of the P Zero made the difference, proving to be versatile and reliable in all conditions, which contrary to expectations, were mainly dry. The supersoft had its work cut out, having to do its bit on wetter surfaces and on some occasional sections where “verglas” was present, while the winter specification tyres stayed lock away in the boot and were not even out at the service park.  

Moving the event more inland compared to the previous two editions, had raised hopes of witnessing a traditional Monte Carlo rally, with snow and ice mixed in with wet and dry sections. However, the weather and temperatures had different ideas, leaving the drivers to face the difficulties of having to find grip on surfaces that changed, not just within the same section, but even in an individual stage, where there was verglas in some places. Given these conditions, the most popular tyre combination was between the soft and supersoft, the former seeing the most use on all days of the event.

The most demanding stages from a tyre perspective were SS3 and 6 because of the abrasive surface and SS5 and 8 because of “verglas” which cost some drivers several seconds.

Terenzio Testoni, Pirelli Activity Manager: “It was a really interesting and closely contested rally in both the top class and in WRC 2. Getting the strategy right and tyre management was the key factor, as is always the case in Monte Carlo, even if this time the choice was limited to two of the four available specifications.

To sum up, I would say all the drivers did a very good job on this front, to the extent that almost of all them had new soft tyres available for Sunday’s stages, even though this had been the most widely used specification over the course of the weekend. For the Rally 2 cars, the P Zero SA Rally1 e le Ra7+B clearly played a leading role, even though there were fewer of them in their allocation than the supersofts, which confirms their great versatility and reliability as well as durability. From our side, there’s only one slight regret at not having been able to test the evolution of our studded tyres on the event, which we had developed specifically for this rally. There will be no shortage of opportunities in the future. In fact, our development work is not just for the benefit of the WRC, but for all rally categories.”

There was also a great battle right down to the final special stage in WRC2, with victory going to Yohan Rossel in a Citroen C3 Rally2 ahead of Pepe Lopez in his Skoda Fabia RS Rally2.

Graphic summary of the Monte Carlo Rally here below