Pirelli on top in Cyprus
Thanks to Nasser Al-Attiyah's win on the Cyprus Rally, Pirelli has made it three victories and one second place from four participations in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge this year. Al-Attiyah brought his Ford Fiesta S2000 home ahead of Roger Feghali in second and the identical Pirelli-equipped Fiesta of Martin Prokop in third, who had led until he encountered a mechanical problem, putting two Pirelli-equipped cars on the podium in Cyprus. This latest dominant performance from Pirelli has underlined the qualities of the Italian tyres in the face of its strongest rivals on a wide range of surfaces. Cyprus was the first mixed-surface event in the history of the Eurosport-backed IRC series, with 51% asphalt and 49% gravel. Nonetheless, the competitors were obliged to use gravel tyres for the whole event apart from the spectator superspecial. Al-Attiyah won five stages of the rally while Prokop won four, meaning that Pirelli tyres claimed nine out of a possible 14 stages. Not only were the gravel tyres running on asphalt for a large proportion of the time but there was also a wide range of temperatures that the rubber had to cope with. In November, conditions were cool in the morning and evening but exceeded 25 degrees centigrade in the afternoon. The level of grip on the mixed stages also varied dramatically, but Al-Attiyah was able to make the most of consistent traction from his tyres. "I think Pirelli really helped us to make the difference here," said Al-Attiyah. "Although the conditions were very difficult and it was the first time that we were here with this car, we had a really good level of performance from our tyres that helped us to find grip even when we were driving on asphalt with gravel tyres. Martin pushed really hard too, and without the mechanical problem that he had it would certainly have been a very close fight between us for the win." Pirelli's Rally Manager Mario Isola concluded: "The excellent performances from Nasser and Martin have underlined not just the performance but also the versatility of our tyres, as they have been effective within a wide range of conditions, even on surfaces for which they were not designed. The stage wins that Nasser and Martin achieved between them underline our superiority on this event, and we would like to congratulate them both on this great result, which confirms our strong performance on the IRC all year." Starting with victory on the Monte Carlo Rally with Mikko Hirvonen and Ford in January, Pirelli also won in Sanremo with Paolo Andreucci and Peugeot - who finished second in Sardinia as well.