Pirelli in top 10 in Mexico, podium in WRC2, win in WRC3
As the FIA World Rally Championship switched to gravel, Pirelli has helped its privateer customers to secure some of their best results against strong factory opposition, on the debut of the latest evolution Scorpion K gravel tyres. Pirelli privateers Martin Prokop, Lorenzo Bertelli and Valeriy Gorban all finished in the top 10. For Bertelli, eighth overall on Rally Mexico marked the Italian’s best ever WRC result: on one of the most challenging events of the entire championship. Gorban’s 10th overall was also the Ukrainian’s best career result, achieved at the wheel of a Mini John Cooper Works WRC. “It was great; the plan here was to finish and we did,” said Bertelli. “I felt confident and we were able to push more.” There was more success in the support categories: former Production champion Max Rendina claimed his first WRC2 podium at the wheel of a Ford Fiesta R5, with other Pirelli WRC2 competitors, such as former European champion Armin Kremer, also showing strongly at the start of the rally.
For the second consecutive event, Pirelli won the WRC3 category thanks to experienced Frenchman Michel Fabre in a Peugeot 208 R2, who reinforces his provisional lead of the championship.
Local hero Benito Guerra was hit by suspension problems, but earlier he had entertained the thousands of local fans with what was undoubtedly the most spectacular jump of the rally – and perhaps one of the best jumps in rally history.
The new evolution of the Pirelli Scorpion K tyre, in both hard (KHB) and soft (KSB) compounds, helped all the drivers to achieve these results by resisting punctures and increasing traction, as well as dispersing loose stones more effectively. This was crucial on an event where putting the power down efficiently is essential, due to high altitudes that sap the engines of horsepower. With plenty of loose gravel littering the stages, whether or not to choose hard or soft compound tyres – depending on the road conditions that each individual driver found – proved to be critical.
It was a weekend of rallying success elsewhere in the world for Pirelli as well. Jose Pedro Fontes won the opening round of the Portuguese Rally Championship, the Rali Serras de Fafe, in a Citroen DS3 R5 equipped with Pirelli tyres. Fredrik Ahlin, who starred with Pirelli on his native Rally Sweden last month, carried his strong form onto the British Rally Championship, battling with local expert and current WRC2 leader Elfyn Evans for the lead on the Mid Wales Stages: round one of the series.
Pirelli’s rally activity manager Terenzio Testoni commented: “As always, with the heat, altitude, and loose gravel, Mexico proved to be an extremely tough test for tyres. However, we are very satisfied with the performance of the latest evolution of the Pirelli Scorpion K, which delivered everything we asked from it in terms of performance, strength and durability. There were no punctures and some drivers even managed to complete the long 80-kilometre stage just using the soft compound. The fact that so many drivers secured their best-ever result with the latest Scorpion K is testament to its efficiency and ease of use. This was seen not only in the top WRC1 category, but also in WRC2 and WRC3 – where we continue to lead the standings.”
The World Rally Championship resumes with another gravel event in the Americas, Rally Argentina, from April 22-24.
|Bertelli was eighth in Mexico
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