Pirelli looks to emulate podium monopoly in Ireland

Kajetanowicz will aim to cause fireworks in Ireland

Having taken the top two podium positions on the opening round of the European Rally Championship on the Canary Islands, Pirelli is hoping to emulate the feat on the next round of the series: the Circuit of Ireland. This legendary name in the sport represents one of the most varied and challenging asphalt rallies in the world, where competitors will have to cope with a bumpy, slippery and changeable surface, with uncertain weather conditions. The rally traditionally used to take in a lap of the entire island over the Easter weekend, having been contested in the past by greats of the sport such as Markku Alen, who famously described it as “more difficult than Corsica.” What makes Ireland difficult are the particularly narrow and bumpy roads, often with mud and gravel on the corners. It’s incredibly easy to make a mistake, so staying out of trouble is the key to success. Now the rally starts and finishes in Belfast, with 14 stages and 209.56 competitive kilometres. As well as a round of the European Rally Championship, the event is also a round of the British Rally Championship – which features several top drivers on Pirelli tyres. The Circuit of Ireland also marks the start of the ERC Junior Championship, exclusively equipped by Pirelli, where the next generation of talented young drivers will fight for a prize drive in an R5 car. Leading Pirelli drivers on the Circuit of Ireland More than half of the top 50 cars will be equipped by Pirelli. Two of Pirelli’s leading contenders will be Russia’s Alexey Lukyanuk and reigning European champion Kajetan Kajetanowicz – who were first and second respectively on the opening round of the series. Fredrik Ahlin, runner-up on the opening round of the British Rally Championship, is also expected to figure close to the front of the action. They will all drive Ford Fiesta R5s, while Frenchman Robert Consani – set for a podium in Spain before mechanical troubles – will drive a Citroen DS3 R5. An example of Skoda’s new R5 will be driven by Neil Simpson, while Italy’s Giacomo Scattolon will be in ERC2 with a Mitsubishi Lancer. A total of eight drivers are entered for the ERC Junior Championship in Ireland. Tyre and rules Crews competing in the top classes will be allowed to use 18 tyres for the whole event. Pirelli will provide the full range of P Zero RK asphalt tyres, which are designed to the latest FIA regulations and able to cover a wide range of conditions. With cool temperatures and rain expected, the soft RK9A is expected to figure prominently, with RKW7A for heavy rain. For dry and cool conditions, the RK7A medium compound is also available. The ERC Junior Championship drivers have a different allocation: 12 tyres in total, with the RK5 hard compound (for dry conditions) and RKW7 rain tyre available. Quotes Terenzio Testoni, Pirelli rally activity manager: “Ireland has a reputation for being extremely difficult with a wide variety of surfaces; however we already saw on the opening ERC round in the Canary Islands – which was compared to Monte Carlo in terms of tyre choice complexity – that our products are able to cope with even the most challenging conditions. Kajetanowicz was second in Ireland last year, so he will be determined to go one better this time, but the opposition will be even stronger as this rally is also a round of the British Rally Championship: the series that has produced some of our great champions of the past, such as Colin McRae and Richard Burns. With unpredictable weather and rain also forecast, our latest evolution P Zero RK tyres will have the opportunity to demonstrate the control and driveability that makes Pirelli the world leader in ultra high performance. In line with our philosophy of supporting the careers of young drivers, we are also looking forward to the ERC Junior Championship getting underway.”


For further information please contact: Anthony Peacock • +44 7765 896 930 • anthony@mediaticaworld.com