Pirelli palys at home on the 2008 Rally d'Italia - Sardinia

The Italian round of the FIA World Rally Championship is a home event for Pirelli in every sense of the word. In fact, Sardinia was the place where much of the research and development work for the tyres that will be used on the WRC up until 2010 was carried out.

The Rally d'Italia-Sardegna, which gets underway this weekend, is obviously an event of great importance for Pirelli. As well as being Pirelli's home event, much of the research and development work that went into the tyres that will be used on the World Rally Championship from 2008 to 2010 took place on both gravel and asphalt roads in Sardinia.

The event, which takes places over three legs around Olbia, is the first of a trio of Mediterranean rallies, including Greece at the end of the month and Turkey in mid-June. All three events are extremely demanding on the tyres, but from what have been seen so far - especially in Mexico and Jordan - Pirelli's Scorpion tyres have everything that is needed to overcome even the most formidable obstacles. Following the three Mediterranean rallies, there is then a gap of more than a month before the rallies of Finland, Germany (run on asphalt), and New Zealand. 

Mario Isola, Pirelli's Rally Manager, commented: "Sardinia has always been considered as one of the toughest events of the World Championship, particularly with regard to the first two legs that take place on the interior of the island. In the past, the final leg used to take place at Gallura on softer gravel, but this year even day three is held on quite aggressive surfaces. This means that our hard compound Scorpion tyres will be used throughout the whole event. Our expectations are that it's a rally that should be even more closely-fought than it has been in previous years."

Terenzio Testoni, Pirelli's technical senior representative on the FIA WRC, added: "It is precisely because of the uniquely challenging surfaces in this part of Sardinia that we decided to carry out a large part of our new WRC tyre's development on stages similar to those that will be used on the Rally d'Italia-Sardegna from Friday."

These are roads that Terenzio Testoni knows well, coming from the local area, and they are much appreciated by both the drivers and the public as well, providing spectacular action with a backdrop of stunning countryside.