Pirelli heads to the Pampas in Argentina
Round four of the World Rally Championship takes Pirelli to South America next week – the company’s biggest global market – and Rally Argentina.
Argentina is a classic event that contains a bit of everything: rocks, mud, gravel and varied weather. One of the best-known characteristics of the rally is high altitude on a number of the stages, which can rob the engines of power by up to 20% or more. This makes maintaining a clean line and gaining the most effective traction an even bigger priority than usual.
|Simone Tempestini/Matteo Chiarcossi|
While Europe is gearing up for summer, south of the equator in Argentina weather conditions are more representative of autumn and winter. Rain is a strong possibility, so because of this the tyres have to cope with a very wide range of potential surface conditions – just like Pirelli’s tyres for the road, which contain a lot of the same technology that is directly derived from competition.
For Argentina, the drivers have the 205/65-15 Pirelli Scorpion KS Reinforced soft compound as the main tyre, with the 205/65-15 Pirelli Scorpion KH Reinforced hard as the option (for hotter or longer stages). These tyres are both based on last year’s K product to make them even more stable and durable for the rally’s 12 stages and 365 competitive kilometres.
The longest stage is 56 kilometres, with the shortest being 2.7 kilometres. Following a superspecial stage on Thursday 23 April, the rally concludes on Sunday 26 April in Villa Carlos Paz, close to Cordoba.
Leading Pirelli drivers in Argentina: Robert Kubica, Martin Prokop and Lorenzo Bertelli will represent Pirelli in the leading WRC1 class, with Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari leading Pirelli’s WRC2 entries. As part of the national Argentine series, former Wimbledon finalist David Nalbandian will drive a Chevrolet Agila that is also equipped with Pirelli tyres. The 33-year-old tennis star – who rose as high as world number three – has driven on Pirelli tyres ever since embarking on a new rally career in 2007.
21 Martin Prokop/Jan Tomanek (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) 24 Robert Kubica/Maciej Szczepaniak (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) 37 Lorenzo Bertelli/Giovanni Bernacchini (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) 36 Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari/Marshall Clarke (Ford Fiesta RS RRC) 38 Yuriy Protasov/Pavlo Cherepin (Ford Fiesta RRC) 45 Gianluca Linari/Nicola Arena (Subaru Impreza WRX) 51 Simone Tempestini/Matteo Chiarcossi (Subaru Impreza WRX)
The tyres available and the rules: The WRC 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 205/65-15 KS reinforced. The K pattern is well known for its versatility, being suited to wet and damp 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.
Quotes: Matteo Braga, Pirelli senior tyre engineer: “The emphasis on Rally Argentina in recent years has been on long stages and endurance, which clearly have a big effect on tyre wear. However, the main tyre for Argentina is the soft compound, due to the soft surfaces and cool temperatures. So more than ever, the key to the best tyre usage in Argentina is to strike the right balance between speed and durability. By the end of a loop of stages, it’s important to have extracted all the useful life from the tyre but not to overstep that limit – and this is a hard compromise for any driver to find. An added factor in Argentina is the altitude, which puts less power through the wheels, but also makes a clean line and sharp turn-in from the tyres very important. One of the stars of the WRC so far this year has been Robert Kubica, and we look forward to seeing his speed once more in Argentina. The biggest local star on our tyres is David Nalbandian, who has been a very good friend to Pirelli ever since he swapped a tennis racket for a steering wheel. He’s sure to be a favourite of the many enthusiastic fans we meet in Argentina every year.”
***For further information please contact: Anthony Peacock • +44 7765 896 930 • firstname.lastname@example.org