Multi surface WRC challenge awaits Pirelli in Spain
|This weekend’s Rally RACC Catalunya-Costa Durada (October 23-25) will test Pirelli’s tyres on two fronts. The Spanish round of the FIA World Rally Championship runs on both gravel and asphalt surfaces. That means Pirelli will bring both the RKH/RKS cut slick and the KHA and KSA gravel tyres. Each tyre pattern is offered in hard and soft compounds. Thursday’s Barcelona spectator special stage takes place on asphalt, and it serves as a short 3.2-kilometre introduction to the weekend’s action. After that the rally is based in Salou. The Pirelli-equipped crews will get into their stride on Friday, when they’ll complete 128.6-kilometres on asphalt. A similar distance will be completed on Saturday, before the action switches to gravel for Sunday.
The RK pattern, for dry and wet asphalt, was introduced when Pirelli returned to the World Rally Championship in Monte Carlo last year, but has since undergone a number of evolutions. The K pattern, with the ‘a’ suffix designating the latest version introduced on the last round in Australia, is well-known for its capabilities on a wide range of gravel surfaces, with added strength and performance stability in its latest incarnation. Leading Pirelli drivers in Spain: Polish driver Robert Kubica will head the Pirelli runners in the WRC1 section of the entry list. Kubica will compete in his Ford Focus RS WRC, as will Pirelli’s two other WRC1 contenders, Martin Prokop and Lorenzo Bertelli. Quentin Giordano, Yuriy Protasov and Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari will head the Regional Rally Cars, which run in the WRC2 category. Joining them is the drivers in R5-specification cars, which include Armin Kremer and Pirmin Winklhofer in their Skoda Fabia R5. The Italian Junior Team, supported by ACI (the Italian motorsport federation) and Pirelli, will also be present, with Fabio Andolfi and Damiano De Tommaso each driving a Peugeot 208 R2. The tyres available and the rules: Pirelli’s World Rally Car class contenders can use a maximum of 28 tyres during Rally RACC Catalunya-Costa Daurada with covers used in shakedown not included in the overall quantity allowed for the event under WRC rules. For asphalt, the drivers can choose from 16 of the first choice 235/40R15 RKH (hard) and 12 of the 235/40-18 RKS (soft). For gravel, the WRC1 drivers can choose from 12 of the first choice 205/6515 KHA Reinforced (hard) and 10 of the 2015/65R15 KSA Reinforced (soft). Pirelli’s five WRC2 contenders can use a maximum of 24 tyres. This allocation is made of 14 RK asphalt tyres (from a pool of 14 hard compound and 12 soft compound tyres) and 10 K gravel tyres (from a pool of 10 hard and 8 soft compound). The K4 and K6 tyres will also be available, for cars that do not have to comply with 2015 WRC regulations. Quotes: Terenzio Testoni, Pirelli product manager: “This rally stands out from the rest of the World Rally Championship calendar because it requires the drivers to compete on two different surfaces during the event. On Friday and Saturday the crews will push our asphalt tyres to the limit, which should showcase their performance on stages that are similar in places to racing circuits. Then on Sunday they spend the whole day on our gravel tyres. This means the cars will have start the final day with different suspension settings as they seek to maximise the performance of the gravel tyre and to get the best performance across the duration of the event. Conditions are expected to be hot and dry, so we would anticipate most cars running on the hard compound for the majority of the event.”
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